An Old Bailey Judge has said that criminal proceedings against the late Lord Janner, over charges of sex abuse, have now ended because of his death.
The case against the former Labour MP, charged with 22 sexual offences dating back to the 1960s against nine boys and men, was set to be heard in a trial of the facts from which Lord Janner would be absent because of his dementia.
Following his death in December, prosecutors suggested the trial could go ahead posthumously. But on Friday the trial of the facts, which was due to take place in April, was shelved by prosecutors.
The alleged victims have hit out at the decision to drop court proceedings saying it amounted to “an establishment cover-up from day one”. A lawyer for some of the alleged victims has said that they were “devastated”.
Meanwhile, the BBC interviewed dozens of men and women who lived in children’s homes in Leicestershire in the 70s and 80s, and reported on Friday that 12 former residents had claimed they were abused by Janner.
The Guardian reports:
The BBC reported that lawyers were now representing at least 20 men and one woman, including the 12 residents of children’s homes, who say the former MP abused them and that police had said they had information from 25 alleged victims.
Liz Dux, of Slater and Gordon, who represents a number of Janner’s alleged victims, said the claims against the former Labour MP were of the most “serious nature”.
“My clients are absolutely devastated that they won’t give their evidence in a criminal court,” she said. “They totally 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, and that’s something they can’t get over.
“The next stage is the only opportunity for them to have their evidence heard, by the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse led by Judge Goddard. We’re hoping there will be an announcement by the Goddard inquiry shortly.
“I hope they prioritise the Lord Janner case and that they will hear my client in person and make findings of facts so there are judicial findings made and then made public.
“What is very disappointing is there was a painstaking inquiry by Leicestershire police since 2013 with a lot of other witnesses’ evidence, who weren’t victims but who were there to corroborate what victims were alleging. That evidence won’t be heard either.”
At the time of Janner’s death on 19 December, the prosecution had an application pending to introduce a second tranche of charges, which covered additional victims.
Janner was subject to three police investigations between 1991 and 2007. The CPS had, in those inquiries, decided there was insufficient evidence to charge Janner as a result of two of the investigations while the police did not submit a file to prosecutors on the third one.
In April last year, the director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders, said the evidential test was passed, but that “mistakes in the decision-making” were made by Leicestershire police in 2002 and the CPS in 1991 and 2007.
The report by Henriques into the failures of previous inquiries last spring, which is expected to be released within days, will “go further” in its criticisms, sources say.
The report’s findings will be closely examined by lawyers representing at least 20 alleged victims of Janner who are already pursuing civil proceedings against the peer’s estate.
Some alleged victims have voiced suspicions that ministers and senior politicians from the Conservative party and Labour may have interfered in police inquiries.
Peter Garsden, head of QualitySolicitors Abney Garsden, said: “I hope the Henriques review will elaborate upon whether the police were put under pressure by the government not to prosecute Janner, something which has long been rumoured.
“The victims will await its publication with anticipation of it uncovering any cover-up which took place in the past. This has led to them being denied justice at a time when Janner was not lacking in capacity.”