A man in his 20s was arrested in connection with the incident and has since been released under investigation pending further enquiries.

From Mirror

This article talks about a murder incident, this sentence is at the end of it. Does this sentence imply that the local police arrested a suspect who is aged over 20 and then was released? However, what is the meaning of since and pending here?


  • The entire article appears to have been written by someone just out of school, possibly with an O-Level in woodwork. I certainly wouldn't use the Mirror as any kind of style guide. Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 10:01

2 Answers 2


My snide comment on the article aside, the question is answerable, but first I'd just like to fix the original sentence a bit...

A man in his 20s was arrested in connection with the incident and has since been released pending further enquiries.

Whoever wrote it has obviously been reading newspapers to gain their experience at "reporter police-speak" but didn't fully understand it, I think.
The entire passage is written in "reporter police-speak" These are terms used frequently in this type of reporting.

To break it down

  • A man was arrested.
    There was sufficient suspicion he was involved, so the arrest was "in connection with the incident"

  • He was released afterwards.
    This is only going to happen under two circumstances.

    1. He was 'bailed' or 'arraigned' to later appear in court.
    2. There wasn't enough evidence to hold him any longer.

'Since released' means he was released sometime later. It doesn't specify when precisely.

'pending' is simply 'awaiting a decision or conclusion'. In "police speak" 'pending further enquires' means they need to gather more evidence as there isn't yet enough to charge the suspect.

Being arrested is not the same as being charged with an offence.
You can be arrested on suspicion of something, but to be charged the police must be reasonably certain they have sufficient evidence to support their claim.
Once arrested, the police can only hold a suspect without charging them for a limited time (I think it's 24 hours, but I'n not a lawyer, I just watch a lot of police shows ;)
After that he must be either charged or released.

BTW, the bit I snipped out - under investigation - is just tautological.
The incident is under investigation, enquiries are being made.
The man may or may not be charged once the investigation/enquires are completed.


To be honest, it's not very clear but it appears that he is still a suspect.

The article "pending" meaning that they are still waiting to find out if he is in fact guilty or not.

So basically: the sentence states that this man was arrested as a suspect but has now been released as more information indicates he may in fact not be guilty but they cannot be sure yet.

  • I don’t think the sentence is necessarily saying that "more information indicates he may in fact not be guilty”. There may simply be insufficient evidence to keep the suspect in custody.
    – J.R.
    Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 10:07

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