Police may challenge decision not to prosecute Lord Janner over abuse allegations

Police may challenge decision not to prosecute Lord Janner over abuse allegations

Lord Janner
Lord Janner

Leicestershire Police say they are “exploring what possible legal avenues there may be to challenge” the decision by the CPS not to prosecute Labour peer Lord Greville Janner.

Lord Greville Janner

The Labour peer and former MP in Leicester 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, it was reported on Thursday. 

The Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders is expected to announce that it would not be in the public interest to proceed with a case against Lord Greville Janner.

Today the CPS admitted it had made “mistakes” and there was enough evidence to charge the peer back in the early 1990s.

But while the organisation spoke of “regret” of past failures, it fell short of apologising.

The CPS said: “It is a matter of deep regret that the decisions in relation to the previous investigations were as they were.

“Had the previous decisions been to prosecute, as they should have been, Lord Jannerwould 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.

“Victims of the alleged offences have been denied the opportunity of criminal proceedings in relation to the offences of which they have complained.

“It is of obvious and particular concern that such proceedings did not take place as a result of what the CPS now consider to be wrong decisions.”

The CPS said it has asked retired High Court Judge, Sir Richard Henriques, to conduct an independent review into the CPS decision making and handling of all past matters relating to the case.

They said if Lord Janner was well, he would be charged with 14 indecent assaults on a male under 16 between 1969 and 1988; two indecent assaults between 1984 and 1988; four counts of buggery of a male under 16 between 1972 and 1987; and two counts of buggery between 1977 and 1988.

Lord Janner, served as an MP for 27 years, first for Leicester North West and then Leicester West. He was made a life peer in 1997 when he retired.

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 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.

On his website, he says he speaks nine languages and is a member of the Magic Circle and the International Brotherhood of Magicians.

Peter Saunders, of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, described the decision as “outrageous” and said the only apparent reason not to charge the peer is because he is a member of the Establishment.

Mr Saunders told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme before the CPS made their decision that: “I believe that the CPS are about to make the wrong decision, given that I understand there is massive, massive evidence and many victims that actually deserve a hearing here and they are not going to get that opportunity, and I think it’s outrageous.

“I think the excuse or the reason will be not in the public interest – I can’t think of anything else.

“We’ve been in touch, we are supporting the victims, we are supporting the survivors, we’ve been in touch with Leicestershire Police.

“There is overwhelming evidence that this should go to court but I believe the CPS, for reasons that are beyond me other than the fact that we are talking about a person who is part of the Establishment, a former MP and member of the House of Lords.”

Mr Saunders dismissed concerns that Lord Janner could not defend himself because he has dementia.

Mr Saunders said: “We still bring war criminals to justice… even when they have dementia and I believe that Lord Janner only developed the dementia relatively recently.

“You are defended by other people, he hasn’t lost all his faculties as far as I’m aware.

“We’re talking about very serious crimes, we’re not talking about minor misdemeanours, we’re not talking about a bit of fraud, we’re talking about extremely serious allegations. If there is strong evidence that those crimes occurred then it should come to court.”

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