DPP to review decision not to prosecute Jimmy Savile in 2009
The decision not to prosecute Jimmy Savile over abuse allegations in 2009 will come under the spotlight again after the Prime Minister announced that Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer will review legal papers from the case.
Surrey Police submitted a file to the Crown Prosecution Service containing references to four potential offences, including an allegation of indecent assault on a young girl at a children’s home, but it was dropped due to lack of evidence.
David Cameron told MPs yesterday: “The Director of Public Prosecutions specifically is going to consider what more can be done to alert relevant authorities where there are concerns that a prosecution is not taken forward.
“The government will do everything it can do, other institutions must do what they can do, to make sure that we learn the lesson of this and it can never happen again.”
Mr Starmer said the evidence was considered by prosecutors, but because the alleged victims would not support police action, it was decided not to proceed.
As the number of allegations against Savile has snowballed, Mr Starmer asked the chief Crown prosecutor for the South-east, Roger Coe-Salazar, to look at the files again.
He concluded the correct decision was taken, although the files will again be reviewed “out of an abundance of caution”.
Mr Cameron also told MPs the BBC had “serious questions” to answer about how Savile had got away with the abuse for so long, adding that he did not rule out “further steps” in addition to the two inquiries into the corporation already under way.
Children’s charity the NSPCC said it has received 161 calls relating to Savile, which have been passed to police.
Earlier yesterday, Sir Roger Gale MP said BBC bosses George Entwistle and Lord Patten might have to “fall on their swords” over the corporation’s handling of the scandal.
Mr Entwistle, who took over as director general last month, was roundly criticised for his appearance before the culture, media and sport select committee on Tuesday, where he was told to “get a grip” on his organisation.
And it emerged on Tuesday that the BBC is also investigating nine allegations of “sexual harassment, assault or inappropriate conduct” among current staff and contributors.
Committee chairman John Whittingdale said Mr Entwistle “left questions unanswered”.
Culture Secretary Maria Miller said Mr Entwistle’s evidence and the BBC’s handling of the wider scandal raised “very real concerns” about public trust.
Mr Entwistle told MPs that the “broader cultural problem” at the BBC allowed Savile’s alleged behaviour to take place and conceded that the corporation was slow to react to the emerging crisis.
He also expressed regret that Newsnight did not press ahead with its investigation last year.
The editor, Peter Rippon, has stepped aside after a Panorama inquiry prompted the BBC to say his explanation of why the show dropped its investigation was “inaccurate or incomplete”.
It emerged on Tuesday night that Newsnight reporter Liz MacKean alleged Mr Rippon tried to “kill” the story by making “impossible editorial demands”.
She reportedly claimed: “When we rebut his points, he resorts to saying, well, it was 40 years ago … the girls were teenagers, not too young … they weren’t the worst kind of sexual offences, etc.”
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