No sex abuse trial for frail peer Greville Janner

A FORMER Labour peer should have stood trial 25 years ago charged with sex attacks on children – but he will now not face court because he has dementia, prosecutors said yesterday.

Labour peer Lord Greville Janner, pictured in 1996, will not be put on trial. Picture: PA
Labour peer Lord Greville Janner, pictured in 1996, will not be put on trial. Picture: PA

Lord Greville Janner, 86, allegedly used his power as a Leicester MP to abuse vulnerable young boys at a children’s home in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

He was the subject of three different police inquiries between 1991 and 2007, and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) admitted it was “wrong” not to prosecute him back then.

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Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders said there was enough evidence to charge Janner with 22 sex offences, but he was too sick to stand trial.

Sir Clive Loader, the Tory Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicestershire, who did not name Janner, said: “This decision is not just wrong – it is wholly perverse and is contrary to any notion of natural justice. I cannot believe that any right-minded person will understand or support it.

“For decades, this man is alleged to have carried out premeditated, systematic sex crimes against young boys and one girl who were in the care of the local authority.”

Campaigners said the move not to prosecute Janner was “bizarre” and they accused the establishment of “closing ranks” and failing abuse victims.

It is claimed that Janner, while “in a position of authority and trust as the local MP for Leicester West” befriended the manager of a children’s care home to allow him access to youngsters whom he went on to abuse.

Janner strongly denies the allegations against him. In a statement issued yesterday, his family said: “Lord Janner is a man of great integrity and high repute with a long and unblemished record of public service. He is entirely innocent of any wrongdoing.”

Janner, the MP for Leicester West from 1970 until 1997, was first interviewed in 1991 when his name was mentioned in the trial of Frank Beck, one of Britain’s most notorious paedophiles who was jailed for abusing boys in his care at Leicestershire children’s homes.

The politician was accused of grooming and abusing a boy aged between 13 and 15, but the CPS did not pursue the case.

He was investigated again in 2002 and 2006 when fresh allegations surfaced, but each time the CPS decided no further action would be taken.

Ms Saunders admitted the case had not been “thoroughly investigated” at the time and was only properly looked at under Operation Enamel, which was launched in 2013.

She 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 Janner would 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 decision not to prosecute sparked anger from campaigners, who said it would deter victims from coming forward.

Peter Saunders, founder of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, said: “I’m shocked at the catalogue of mistakes and errors and failings to launch a prosecution. I think many victims and survivors will be feeling terribly, terribly let down at the moment.”

An NSPCC spokesman said: “Victims will be understandably angry and upset that, because of mistakes made by the CPS, a jury will not have the final say.”