The CPS decides not to prosecute the Labour peer over historic child sex abuse allegations because of his dementia – though it says there was sufficient evidence to warrant prosecuting him.
Labour peer Lord Greville Janner, whose home and House of Lords office have previously been searched in connection with historic child sex abuse allegations, will not be put on trial, according to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Alison Saunders announced that it would not be in the public interest to proceed with a case against him.
However, Roger Bannister, the assistant chief constable of Leicestershire Police told Channel 4 News he believed that decision was wrong.
Mr Bannister said that despite Lord Janner’s ill health, the 25 people who had come forward to make extremely serious allegations deserved their day in court. Having been vulnerable children in care at the time of the alleged offences, they, “should have had the opportunity for those allegations to be tested by a jury” Mr Bannister said.
In March last year Lord Janner’s House of Lords office was searched, but he was not arrested. In 2013 his home in Barnet, north London was raided by police.
The DPP acknowledges in a statement that there had been enough evidence to charge and prosecute Lord Janner in relation to allegations between 1969 and 1988.
The DPP concedes that the CPS made “mistakes” and that Lord Janner “should have been prosecuted” earlier.
Her statement also admits that “but for medical considerations, it would undoubtedly have been in the public interest to prosecute” recently.
It continues: “It is a matter of deep regret that the decision 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.”
Channel 4 News went to Lord Janner’s London last year home to see whether he would comment on the ongoing police investigation into allegations against him, as well as the wider claims of a “Westminster VIP paedophile ring”. Footage below.
Extract from DPP statement
"In relation to the allegations investigated in Operation Enamel, the CPS considers that the evidential test was passed on the basis that the evidence is sufficient to have warranted charging and prosecuting Lord Janner in relation to the particular charges listed below; these relate to nine individuals:
- 14 indecent assaults on a male under 16 between 1969 and 1988
- 2 indecent assaults between 1984 and 1988
- 4 counts of buggery of a male under 16 between 1972 and 1987
- 2 counts of buggery between 1977 and 1988.
"In relation to the other three previous investigations, the CPS also now considers that the evidential test was passed. It follows that the CPS judges 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."
Lord Janner served as a Labour MP for 27 years, first for Leicester North West and then Leicester West.
In a statement issued through lawyers, the peer’s family said: “Lord Janner is a man of great integrity and high repute with a long and unblemished record of public service.
“He is entirely innocent of any wrongdoing.
“As the Crown Prosecution Service indicated today, this decision does not mean or imply that any of the allegations that have been made are established or that Lord Janner is guilty of any offence.”
Lord Janner is a man of great integrity and high repute… He is entirely innocent of any wrongdoing. Jenner family statement
A Labour spokesman said: “In the light of these very serious allegations, Lord Janner has been suspended from the Labour party.”
Peter Saunders, of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, said the decision not to press charges is “disastrously wrong” and will leave alleged victims feeling “betrayed”.
“When you have 20-plus people alleging very powerful evidence, then you have the stuff of a court case and a possible conviction.
“His age and dementia is no reason for him not to face trial… we are talking about extremely serious allegations of a very serious nature, involving children. Whether he is 86 or 96, he should be held to account.”
Leicester police said they are “exploring what possible legal avenues there may be” to challenge the decision not to prosecute.
Sir Clive Loader, police and crime commissioner for Leicestershire, condemned the decision not to prosecute Lord Janner, saying he was “dismayed and deeply disappointed by the decision.
This decision is not just wrong, it is wholly perverse and is contrary to any notion of natural justice. Sir Clive Loader, Leicestershire police and crime commissioner
“This decision is not just wrong,” he said, “it is wholly perverse and is contrary to any notion of natural justice.”
Lord Janner was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2009 and requires round-the-clock care.
The 86-year-old father of three is a former president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and has been active in efforts to get compensation for Holocaust victims.