Alleged victims of the late Lord Janner have been left “devastated” after his criminal case was dropped, decades after they first accused him of child sex abuse.
Greville Janner had been charged with 22 sexual offences dating back to the 1960s against nine alleged victims, who were mostly under 16 at the time.
But legal proceedings were left in limbo following the announcement that the 87-year-old peer had died on 19 December, just days after he was found unfit to stand trial at the Old Bailey. Announcing the decision not to press ahead with the planned trial of facts yesterday prosecutor Richard Whittam QC revealed in court that more charges were due to be brought.
The defence had been trying to get the case thrown out due to an “abuse of process”, he said.
Mr Whittam said that a copy of the death certificate had been produced for the court file bringing an end to the criminal matter.
Following the short hearing, alleged victims expressed their disappointment at being denied justice “through a failure to prosecute earlier when Janner was alive and well”.
Liz Dux, specialist abuse lawyer at Slater and Gordon, who represents eight alleged victims, said: “My clients are obviously devastated that they are no longer able to give their evidence in a criminal court.
“They understand the reasons why but that doesn’t make up for the real travesty – that many gave their statements decades ago and have been denied justice through a failure to prosecute earlier when Janner was alive and well. They sincerely hope that the Goddard Inquiry will prioritise this matter, will allow them to give their evidence in person and will make findings of fact.
“It is vital that all the evidence that has painstakingly been gathered over the years is carefully considered by the independent inquiry and that findings of fact are made public.”
Meanwhile, the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse, headed by Justice Goddard, announced it was resuming its investigation into Janner.
A spokeswoman said: “The inquiry will seek evidence and submissions from all relevant parties, and will make findings of fact where appropriate.
“If allegations are found to be true, the inquiry will then consider the extent of any institutional failures to protect children from abuse and make recommendations for the future.”
The inquiry will look into Leicestershire County Council, a number of care homes, the police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Labour Party, she said. A description of the scope of the investigation will be published on Monday.