Will Lord Janner's alleged victims have their day in court?
The man I spoke to is named Roger Bannister – not the Bannister who broke the four-minute mile but the assistant chief constable of Leicestershire, who has spoken out over the decision by the DPP not to prosecute Lord Greville Janner on historic child abuse charges.
Lord Janner has held prestigious posts as a Leicester MP, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and latterly as a peer of the realm. The DPP has concluded that his dementia renders him too incapacitated to stand trial.
Assistant Chief Constable Bannister has led the investigation into the evidence of 25 survivors who say they were abused in Leicestershire children’s homes.
Speaking of the case, Mr Bannister states: “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.”
Lord Janner in 1998 (Reuters)
Mr Bannister told me that he rests his case on the need for the survivors “to have their day in court”. He believes that there are mechanisms for making this possible and that the DPP is wrong in her decision.
The DPP, Alison Saunders, admits failures in the past and missed opportunities to prosecute Janner at an earlier stage. But her case rests on the evidence of four doctors – two hired by the Janner family and two by her department. They conclude that he has Alzheimer’s and degenerative dementia. They do not believe he is capable of manipulating his condition or “putting it on”.
Lord Janner’s family maintain that he is innocent. They say he’s a man of great integrity. The DPP told me tonight that any alleged victims would be able to “tell their stories” to the wider public inquiry chaired by the New Zealander Dame Lowell Goddard instead.
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