Monday, April 20, 2015

Leicester Politician Greville Janner should have faced sex abuse trial years ago, says official report

via Leicester Mercury:

Leicester politician Greville Janner should have been put on trial as far back as 1991 to face allegations of sexually abusing children, an official report said today. Up to 25 people – many of them former Leicestershire children's homes residents – told police Lord Janner sexually abused them between 1970 and the mid to late 1980s. However, despite three previous police investigations,two of which were referred to the Crown Prosecution Service, (CPS), the Labour politician, who served as a city MP between 1970 and 1997, was never charged. Details of the historical allegations came to light today as the head of the CPS confirmed that Lord Janner was no longer fit to stand trial because he is seriously ill with Alzheimer's Disease.

However, Leicestershire Police said it believed the decision not to put the matter to a jury was the "wrong one" and is taking legal advice on the possibility of overturning the CPS decision. Alison Saunders, the director of public prosecutions, said it was a "matter of regret" Lord Janner was not charged and put on trial following police investigations in 1991 and 2000. In a comprehensive statement on the case today, she said: "Lord Janner should have been prosecuted in relation to those complaints. "It is a matter of deep regret that the decisions in relation to the previous investigations were as they were.

"Had the previous decisions been to prosecute, as they should have been, Lord Janner would have had the opportunity to challenge the evidence and defend himself through the trial process, with a jury ultimately deciding on his guilt or innocence some years ago. "Victims of the alleged offences have been denied the opportunity of criminal proceedings in relation to the offences of which they have complained. "It is of obvious and particular concern that such proceedings did not take place as a result of what the CPS now consider to be wrong decisions."

Leicestershire's Assistant Chief Constable Roger Bannister, who has overseen the investigation into Lord Janner, 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." Lord Janner was named as an alleged abuser during the trial of former city care home manager Frank Beck, who died in prison while serving a sentence for offences against children in care. The BBC reported today that Lord Janner's family had issued a statement that he was "a man of great integrity and high repute" and "entirely innocent of any wrongdoing".