16 Apr 2015

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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10 reader comments

  1. John Lloyd says:

    If he WAS prosecuted, the court would undoubtedly find him unfit to stand trial. That would be the end of it. A better route for the victims might be a joint civil claim. That would give them their day in court and perhaps some compensation.

  2. PHILIP TAYLOR says:

    I guess the criminal law the CPS has for whatever reason stated or unstated Janner will not stand criminal proceedings which leaves a private prosecution

  3. Derek Brown says:

    If we can send people with learning difficulties to prison and try Jimmy Saville after he is dead why can’t we take a lord with Altzeimers t court?

  4. Philip Edwards says:


    Well, you said the Hillsborough families would never get a new inquest or inquiry. Nor did you agitate for one. But you were wrong. The families, heroes all, kept their decency and honour. When the current inquest finishes it will have exposed most – but not all – of the disgusting corruption that tried to cover up culpability for that horror.

    In this case of child abuse you seem to have modified your approach. Perhaps you have learned your lesson: that the class of which you are a part (your own words in interviews with Cameron and Heseltine) will do ANYTHING to lie and dupe their way to power, and stay there.

    The establishment will fight this to the end because it will reveal how rotten to the core they are, that what they have done to this country since 1979 is the blackest moment in contemporary British history. They couldn’t even leave our children alone, or even tolerate working class people at the simple leisure of a football match.

    You can expect more of the same until Britain decides it has had enough of this kind of evil. How will you report it then?

  5. Gerry McGovern says:

    Has Lord Janner the same incurable condition suffered by

    Ernest Walter Saunders ????

    This country of ours is supposed to have a legal system that is admired though out the world but alas cases like these continue to demonstrate just how unequal our big society really is and class and privilege still decide what type of justice you receive.

    No wonder the British Public have lost all faith in the establishment.

    It Stinks!

  6. Richard Gray says:

    if it looks like an establishment cover up and smells like an establishment cover up, then…
    and if the doctors can decide on this, what is the point of the DPP?

  7. Jeanette Turner says:

    Almost 50 years ago my mother said to me “power corrupts absolutely” We as a society have not changed one iota In fact the brazeness of our instituitions refusal to intervene in order to affect change makes it’s corruptness even more unsavory

  8. Andrew Hill says:

    Good balanced reporting, although one question comes to my mind. Lord Janner is deemed unfit to stand trial. However, if victims of these crimes explicitly and individually accuse him of having committed them in the public media, would Lord Janner (or his carers) be allowed to sue those victims for libel?
    I am interested here in the general point: can someone unfit to be tried in a criminal court for a criminal offense (or someone on their behalf) go to the high court to sue their accusers? If yes, then that would be very unfair to the victims of crime being denied the chance to prove their claims in court and further penalised for speaking out. If no, then an accused person in poor health is unable to clear their name, should they be innocent of those accusations (presumably the cost of refusing to face criminal charges in court).

  9. H Statton says:

    The big problem lies with historical evidence and the subsequent dismissal of it. Reports and allegations were overlooked by police for whatever reason. Janner having friends in high places, an establishment cover-up, the turning of a blind eye, police ineptitude, the list goes on. It is notable that sixteen MPs publically defended Janner at the time of certain allegations.

    I fear the victims may well not see their day in court and that must be an absolutely excruciating situation for them to find themselves in. To not see justice done, receive some emotional peace and closure, and the conviction of the perpetrator; I cannot imagine how much frustration and sense of wrongdoing this will cause if indeed this case does not go to trial.

    The first things I would be inclined to do is have separate independent medical assessments to clarify the exact extent of Janner’s dementia, plus an inquiry into the lapses of the police in bungling significant accusations.

    The course of Alzheimer’s varies greatly but on average people live around eight years. The most obvious problem is memory and planning. But depending on time of diagnosis, a person can manage these symptoms for many years, sometimes as much as twenty.

    Although he may have had four assessments by psychiatrists, I would check their background. When did he receive these diagnoses apart from the initial diagnosis in 2009? We all know what happened with Ian McFadyen’s attempt at achieving justice.

    It saw the repeated appointment of an inappropriate chair on the panel of inquiry, due to their close connections with the establishment. Theresa May made glaring errors in her selection.

    Operation Yewtree lead to ten ‘No Prosecution’, six prison sentences, and one ‘On Bail’. Sadly the likes of Jimmy Savile and Cyril Smith will not face justice, being deceased.

    I sincerely hope the victims of abuse receive some kind of justice. But I feel the challenge to the Director of Public Prosecutions’ decision by Roger Bannister may fall on deaf ears. It may all be too little, too late.

  10. alan hall says:

    One rule for the establishment, and one for us. Never has changed Never will!

Comments are closed.