If someone admits to a crime in an interview for a book, would they be liable if they are anonymous? 8 Answers as of February 17, 2013

I am planning to write a book about people aged 17-19 in the UK, but I am aware that drug use will be mentioned and I know of at least one of the interviewee's have been sexually attacked. I'm planning on getting the book published and I've already decided to protect all of those involved by changing the names of themselves, their family's/friends and the places they refer to. Is there anything I can do allow them to speak the truth without getting them in trouble for it?

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Hamblin Law Office | Sally Hamblin
Good luck on your book. One is never advised to admit to criminal activity even changing their name. Even to you. Anything is possible in the world of criminal justice.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/17/2013
Rizio & Nelson
Rizio & Nelson | John W. Bussman
I'm not licensed to practice law in the UK. This forum is for California criminal defense questions. To answer that one, you'd need to speak with a solicitor (the British version of an attorney) in the UK. The obvious question would be this if you're going to maintain the anonymity of your subjects, how would they be caught?
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/13/2013
James Montgomery, Esq., LLC | James Montgomery
Sure they would be liable but, practically speaking, hard to make an arrest.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 2/13/2013
Attorney at Law
Attorney at Law | Michael J. Kennedy
Write it as a piece of documentary fiction, a truthful novel with names changed to protect whomever, such as was done with Kim Wozencrafts Rush.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/13/2013
Timothy J. Thill P.C.
Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
You should consult with a barrister concerning this issue, for possible civil liability in penning this book. I do not know the British law, but would guess there is nothing that could be used against the subjects of your story if you change everything concerning them, identities, locales and times.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 2/13/2013
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    You need to be very careful when writing about illegal activities, particularly if the Statute of Limitations have not yet expired on the crimes and if you do not have the people's permission to publish such stories. Even if you change the names there can still be enough information for people in the community to figure out who you are talking about. Not only do you open yourself up for criminal prosecution for any criminal acts that you mention, but you could be sued civilly. I would strongly suggest consulting with a civil attorney that handles such matters before publishing anything.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    There is something in the US called the Corpus Delecti rule that comes from the common law and should be valid in Great Britain. It says that they have to prove a crime was committed before they can use a person's statement. They can't convict just because someone says a crime happened that they committed.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/13/2013
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    You would have to talk with someone in the United Kingdom.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 2/13/2013
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