DPP stands by decision over Janner

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Published: Thursday 23rd April 2015 by The News Editor

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Britain’s top prosecutor has strongly defended her decision not to prosecute former MP Lord Janner for sex crimes against vulnerable boys – despite mounting criticism.

Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, insisted it was the “right decision” not to pursue the Labour peer through the courts because of his dementia.

And she said those who disagree should challenge it in the courts.

She told the London Evening Standard newspaper: “If somebody wants to challenge my decision, I’m not afraid. The proper way to challenge it is through the right to review or judicial review.

“I’m confident that if they want to do that, my decision will stand up. I thought long and hard before making it and I’m confident I got it right.”

The former Labour peer, 86, was deemed by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to be too unwell to stand trial because of his dementia – sparking anger from his alleged victims.

The CPS admitted police had enough evidence to charge him 25 years ago, but three flawed investigations failed to charge him.

Ms Saunders admitted there was enough evidence to prosecute the peer for 22 sex offences against nine people. More than a dozen people came forward to claim he abused them during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

Simon Danczuk, the Labour MP for Rochdale who helped expose child sex abuse carried out by the late Liberal MP Cyril Smith, said the decision not to prosecute was “clearly the wrong one”.

And he accused Ms Saunders of a “lack of emotional intelligence” by inviting her decision to be challenged in the courts.

He said: “I find it peculiar that she says she’s happy to be challenged in the courts over the decision. That sounds quite cold. A little bit more emotional intelligence on her part would be welcome.

“It is an exceptionally sensitive case.”

He accused other politicians of “tip-toeing around this issue” and said the controversial decision not to pursue the case is putting other victims of sex abuse off coming forward.

He said: “This is an issue of massive national importance and she’s badly got it wrong. It’s doing enormous damage to politics and its smashing public confidence in the judiciary – so much so that victims of abuse are less likely to come forward now as a result of the DPP’s decision.

“Saunders’ decision is really chipping away at public confidence and it’s really damaging because people can’t see justice being done, they can only see another cover-up.”

Ms Saunders has faced a barrage of criticism in recent days and faced calls for her to resign in the wake of the Janner decision.

It came as she also faced criticism over failed prosecutions of journalists for alleged payments to public officials.

The Crown Prosecution Service announced last week it was abandoning cases against nine journalists charged as part of Operation Elveden – which was branded a “fiasco” by critics and estimated to have cost £20 million.

Mr Danczuk accused Ms Saunders of being willing to use an obscure and “complicated” area of the law to prosecute journalists, while not exploring all the options to bring Lord Janner to court.

He said: “It looks as though she’s completely closed her mind to any prospect of justice. Nineteen people suffering from dementia have been convicted of sex crimes, including 10 in the last year. I can’t help feel that if Janner was not a politician he would be in the dock.”

The comments come as Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said he had “sympathy” with calls for a review of the decision not to prosecute Lord Janner.

He told LBC Radio: “Alex Carlile, the distinguished Lib Dem QC, was saying there could be a process established which is totally independent – not only of the decision that has been taken already by the Director of Public Prosecutions but independent, obviously, of political interference – which just looks at the facts once again to give a proper second opinion.

“I have some sympathy with that given that this has elicited huge disquiet. I can’t imagine anyone doesn’t share that sense of disquiet. These are very, very serious allegations.”

Lord Janner denies the allegations against him.

Published: Thursday 23rd April 2015 by The News Editor

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