The barrister working on the investigation into the late Lord Janner has resigned from the national inquiry into historic child sex abuse – the third such senior lawyer to do so in recent weeks.
Abigail Bright, one of the country’s top criminal lawyers, had been instructed by lead barrister Ben Emmerson QC and was “tasked with investigating the gravest child sexual abuse allegations” against Janner.
However, in the latest sign that the inquiry has fallen from fiasco to farce, Emmerson and his deputy Elizabeth Prochaska both resigned in the last two weeks, and this weekend Bright followed them out of the door.
Janner’s son Daniel, himself a criminal barrister, on Sunday said his father had been “falsely accused” and that the family had been going through a “living hell”.
The national inquiry into child sex abuse, which has already cost £20 million and not yet heard from a single witness, is now on its fourth chair, after the first three resigned for various reasons.
Prof. Alexis Jay, who is not a lawyer, replaced New Zealand judge Dame Lowell Goddard in August, and now presides over an inquiry to which some groups representing the alleged victims have already disengaged.
Daniel Janner said the inquiry was “a behemoth” and in need of a “total rethink,” with a smaller, more focused remit. “The civil court is the right forum [for the allegations], allowing evidence to be tested in cross-examination. My father lies silent in his grave and cannot answer back.”
Janner, an MP who co-founded the Holocaust Education Trust and served as president of the Board of Deputies, was charged with 22 sexual offences dating back to the 1960s, but died before a trial of the facts could take place.
Emmerson said police had received allegations of sexual abuse against Janner from 30 victims between 1955 to 1988, most of which are said to have taken place at children’s homes and hotels.
“The allegations in summary are that Greville Janner exploited children and perpetrated a full range of sexual offences against them, including what would now be termed as rape,” he said.