In what is a most disgraceful decision, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has stated that the Labour peer Lord Janner of Braunstone will not be charged with historical sexual abuse offences against children which occurred between 1969 and 1988.
The CPS states that Jenner is not competent to stand trial because he has Alzheimer’s disease and has ordered that police are not to investigate the allegations further or search Jenner’s properties.
The decision is so outrageous that even the police force involved in the case are seeking legal challenges to the CPS’ decision.
Last year a former detective sergeant with Leicestershire Police, Mick Creedon – now chief constable of Derbyshire Police – told the Daily Mail that in 1989 he was ordered not to arrest Lord Janner and not to search his home.
Although the decision not to prosecute him may be valid based on the severity of his condition, there should be no reason whatsoever why police can not continue their investigations or search his properties for evidence which may help in identifying others who may be involved.
The following is from The Guardian which goes into detail about the case:
The Labour peer Lord Janner of Braunstone will not face charges over alleged historical child sex crimes despite evidence from four police inquiries that he had been involved in the abuse of children, the director of public prosecutions has said.
Alison Saunders, the DPP, said in a statement that it was not in the public interest to put the QC and former MP on trial because four separate doctors have said he has Alzheimer’s disease and is incapable of instructing lawyers or entering a plea.
The decision was immediately condemned by Leicestershire police, the investigating force, which claimed that it would let down the alleged victims who had come forward. In an unprecedented move, the force said it was “exploring what possible legal avenues there may be to challenge” the decision.
The opposing statements could plunge the CPS and the police’s strategy for investigating historical sex abuse claims into confusion and crisis.
The investigation into Janner is one of dozens of inquiries into historical abuse allegations involving institutions or prominent people being conducted around the country, coordinated by Operation Hydrant.
In her remarkably detailed statement, Saunders said that Janner would have been charged with a string of sex offences against children if he had been fit to stand.
He would have been charged with 14 indecent assaults on a male under 16 between 1969 and 1988; two indecent assaults between 1984 and 1988; four counts of buggery of a male under 16 between 1972 and 1987; and two counts of buggery between 1977 and 1988.
The statement claimed that both the CPS and Leicestershire police were to blame for the failure of previous inquiries.
Following the decision, Leicestershire police issued a statement saying they were considering challenging the decision in the courts.
Ast Ch Cons Roger Bannister, who has overseen the investigation, said he believed the decision was “the wrong one” and it would do little to support and encourage victims of sexual abuse to come forward.
He said: “Thanks primarily to the courage of 25 victims who have made a complaint and the complete professionalism of the investigation team, we have built a case that the DPP has acknowledged is the result of a thorough investigation, evidentially sufficient and gives rise to a realistic chance of conviction.
“There is credible evidence that this man carried out some of the most serious sexual crimes imaginable over three decades against children who were highly vulnerable and the majority of whom were in care.
“I am extremely worried about the impact the decision not to prosecute him will have on those people, and more widely I am worried about the message this decision sends out to others , both past and present, who have suffered and are suffering sexual abuse.
“We are exploring what possible legal avenues there may be to
challenge this decision and victims themselves have a right to review under a CPS procedure.”
More than a dozen people came forward claiming they were abused by Janner, the CPS said. It is claimed the Labour politician used his influence as MP for Leicester West to prey on and abuse boys at local children’s homes.
In its statement the CPS said most of the alleged victims were residents in Leicestershire children’s homes in the 1970s and 1980s.
The CPS said: “The children and young people in this case were vulnerable and in a situation where they should have been looked after and protected.
“The allegations in this case are thus extremely serious, with a number of alleged victims and allegations of multiple offending over a lengthy period of time.
“The core allegation was that Lord Janner, in a position of authority and trust as the local MP for Leicester West at the time, befriended the manager of a children’s care home to allow him access to children in order to allow him to perpetrate serious sexual offences on children.”
Some of the allegations surfaced in the early 1990s and three investigations were launched into Janner over the next 20 years.
The CPS admitted it made mistakes and that Janner should have been prosecuted earlier.
The CPS said: “In relation to the other three previous investigations, the CPS also now considers that the evidential test was passed.
“It follows that mistakes were made in the decision-making at the time by both the Leicestershire police in 2002 and the CPS in 1991 and 2007.
“Lord Janner should have been prosecuted in relation to those complaints.”
CPS lawyers spent nine months studying evidence gathered by Leicestershire police’s Operation Enamel.
Detectives interviewed more than 25 men who claim they were abused by Greville Janner in their youth.
On Wednesday night police officers visited the alleged victims to inform them of the decision not to proceed to trial, the Times reported.
The Labour party suspended Janner following the CPS announcement.
Janner, 86, the former MP for Leicester West, denied the allegations against him when they first surfaced two decades ago.
He has not been interviewed by detectives because of poor health but police obtained warrants to search his home in Golders Green, north London, and his office in the House of Lords.
Saunders’s decision has angered campaigners, who believe a trial would be in the public interest.
The National Association for People Abused in Childhood said the CPS decision was a “step backwards for justice”.
Spokeman Pete Saunders told Radio 4’s Today programme: “There is enough evidence to proceed with this case and that Alison Saunders can say it is not in the public interest is an outrage.
“I am not saying it is in the public interest to send a very old man to prison, but surely it is in the public interest to expose the evidence and give victims the chance to be heard.
“The message here is that if you are old or important you can still get away with it.”
The CPS said it has asked retired high court judge Sir Richard Henriques to conduct an independent review into its decision-making and handling of all past matters relating to the case.
Commenting on the CPS decision not to prosecute Janner, Simon Danczuk, who first named the late Liberal MP Cyril Smith as an abuser in parliament, said that victims and investigating police have been let down by the CPS.
“I am disappointed by the decision not to bring charges against Lord Janner. I met with Leicestershire police officers 12 months ago to discuss this case and I know how much effort frontline officers put into investigating very serious allegations of child abuse.”
The peer was first accused of abuse offences in 1991 by a witness at the trial of Frank Beck, a serial abuser who ran children’s homes in Leicestershire.
Mick Creedon, now chief constable of Derbyshire police but then an investigating officer, told the Times last year there was credible evidence against Janner and that he and colleagues wanted to make an arrest but were prevented from doing so by “more senior people”.
Janner was interviewed at a police station in Leicester. He attended with his solicitor and gave “no comment” answers. The CPS decided at the time that there was no evidence to warrant charging him.
Janner returned to the Commons after the controversy to a rousing reception from all sides. He told parliament that the claims against him consisted of “disgraceful, contemptible and totally untrue allegations”.
Janner, a prominent advocate for Jewish rights and against the far right, who was president of the Board of British Jews, has led efforts to see Holocaust victims receive compensation.
In 1955, he married Myra Sheink who died in 1996. He has three children and many grandchildren.