Janner faces child sex prosecution


Published: Monday 29th June 2015 by The News Editor

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Lord Janner will face prosecution for child sex offences after Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders was forced into a U-turn.

An independent review overturned Ms Saunders’ controversial decision that the former Labour peer should face no action over child abuse allegations because he is suffering from Alzheimer’s.

A “trial of the facts”, where a jury hears the evidence against an individual considered too ill for a full trial, will now be held into 22 offences allegedly committed in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

The Crown Prosecution Service said that the review agreed that it was right to assume that Lord Janner would be found unfit to plead and the most likely outcome of the “trial of facts” would be an absolute discharge, which is neither punishment nor conviction.

Ms Saunders, said: “It is a matter of real regret that prosecutions weren’t brought by the police and CPS in the past.

“We have brought forward this decision as public speculation on this review has brought damaging and unacceptable uncertainty for the complainants in this case.

“We have now done what we can to inform the complainants of the outcome of the review and I have offered to meet each of them should they wish.”

The announcement comes after reports at the weekend that Ms Saunders was set to be overruled.

Specialist abuse lawyer Liz Dux, who represents many of Janner’s alleged victims, said: “My clients are delighted by this decision.

“This is a vindication of our efforts to challenge the DPP’s original decision not to charge Janner, which was clearly not in the interest of justice.

“Our clients have waited long enough for their very serious allegations to be brought before a court.

“They have felt deeply frustrated by the criminal justice system. However, this decision has given them more hope of finally establishing the truth.

“It may be long overdue, but we will now look to a criminal court to examine the case and make a finding of fact.

“It is now absolutely vital that nothing is done that could prejudice a fair trial.”

The 86-year-old peer’s family strongly denies claims he used his power as an MP for Leicester to abuse vulnerable young boys at a local children’s home.

Ms Saunders’ decision in April not to charge Lord Janner was reviewed after six of the complainants in the case requested one under the recently introduced CPS Victims’ Right to Review scheme.

An independent inquiry into child sex abuse being led by Justice Lowell Goddard is also due to hear evidence from the complainants.

Ms Saunders said: “I have always said that in my view this was an extremely difficult and borderline case because of the strong arguments on both sides.

“I have also always emphasised my concern for the complainants in this case.

“I understood their need to be heard, which is why I contacted Justice Goddard to ensure that they could give evidence as part of the public inquiry.

“However, the review has concluded that this forum, albeit a public one, cannot substitute for the adjudication of the courts.

“I accept the outcome of the review and will now be bringing this prosecution to allow for that adjudication to happen.”

The case has been listed for a first hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on August 7 this year.

Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive, said: “The NSPCC questioned the DPP’s approach to the Janner case on several occasions; we are pleased our concerns have been listened to.

“We welcome the decision that evidence will be sought in court and that the alleged victims of Janner can now pursue justice.

“It takes incredible courage for victims to come forward and they need to have confidence that those in positions of power and privilege are not above the law, or they will not muster the courage.

“Momentum is building in our society so that victims speak up believing justice can be achieved.

“The original decision not to prosecute was a setback – thankfully a temporary one.”

Published: Monday 29th June 2015 by The News Editor

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