When giving a witness statement, if you incriminate yourself in the process will that be used against you?

For example an article I read recently reported a burglar who discovered a stash of illegal images of children. He then alerts the police and gives a statement.

  • What happened to the burglar in the article? Was he in England or Wales?
    – phoog
    Mar 14, 2016 at 14:07
  • The burglar would still be liable for prosecution. Whether it happened or not would depend on the policy of the Crown Prosecution Service. And if he was charged, I've no doubt his responsible action in handing over the images would count in his favour when it came to sentencing. One thing that cannot be required of an individual under English law is that they be forced to give evidence in court in their own defence. It seemed at first as though your question touched on that principle, but perhaps not.
    – WS2
    Mar 14, 2016 at 18:47
  • The police would much rather hear about the illegal images than about your burglary. If they arrest and jail a burglar in this situation, they won't get information from burglars running accidentally into much worse crimes anymore.
    – gnasher729
    Oct 1, 2022 at 23:50

1 Answer 1


Can it be used against you?


Will it be used against you?

That depends on the discretion of the police/prosecutor. If they exercise their discretion to prosecute then they can and will use it as evidence; if they don't prosecute then clearly they wont use it.

The circumstances of your disclosure might mitigate any sentence you receive but it is admissible evidence (if it was legally collected of course).

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .