The children of the late Lord Janner have spoken of “immense relief and intense gratitude” at the news that six claimants against his estate have dropped their civil suits alleging child sexual abuse by the late Labour peer.
But Daniel Janner, like his late father, a QC, Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, the senior rabbi of Reform Judaism, and mental health campaigner Marion Janner, are now seeking an urgent meeting with the chair of the national child abuse inquiry, Professor Alexis Jay, in an effort to get Lord Janner’s name removed entirely as a separate strand of the inquiry.
The unexpected news that the suits were being dropped was broken to the family last Thursday. Richard Scorer, one of the lawyers for the six claimants, said that despite the abandoning of the lawsuits, the cases would have been difficult to win because of the historical nature of the claims. Instead, he said: “Our clients have now received categorical assurances from [Professor] Jay, that she will hear the allegations of abuse by the late Lord Janner as part of her wide-reaching inquiry, and that the actions of the various agencies involved will be scrutinised in detail.
“As a result, our clients will focus their efforts on working with the inquiry to discover the truth of what really happened rather than continue to fight the civil cases against Janner’s estate, which are at risk of being ruled out of time.”
But Rabbi Janner-Klausner said she believed that the lawsuits had been dropped “because when it came to the prospect of giving evidence, they couldn’t do it.” And she added that if it were true that [Professor] Jay had given such assurances to Mr Scorer’s clients, “then she should resign, because it makes the inquiry even more of a farce, and certainly not independent”.
The dropping of the suits marks the end of a long fight for the Janner family, who have been “in limbo” since their father’s death in December 2015. Now they are renewing calls for the community to honour their father, particularly by the many organisations which he founded.
In a joint statement the siblings said: “We want to thank all those who stood by our family through this nightmare. The allegations against our late father were wholly unsubstantiated and an appalling injustice”.