Lord Janner Faces Prosecution Over Historical Sex Abuse

The Crown Prosecution Service announces that Janner will stand trial over alleged historical child sex abuse

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has announced that Lord Janner will be prosecuted over claims of child sex abuse.

The decision overturns a previous ruling where the  89-year-old  peer had been deemed exempt from criminal proceedings due to severe dementia.

In a statement, the CPS confirmed the Director of Public Prosecutions (DDP) Alison Saunders would pursue “criminal proceedings against Greville Janner for child sex offences.”

The statement from the CPS, adds however that while Janner will stand trial, he is unlikely to be found fit to enter a plea, meaning he would be unable to challenge or give evidence during a trial.

The trial has been listed at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 7 August.

The BBC report:

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Alison 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.”

Ms Saunders is the first DPP to have a major prosecuting decision reviewed and overturned.

She faced calls to resign following her original decision but has told the BBC she will not do so.

Lord Janner will face criminal proceedings relating to 22 allegations of historical sexual abuse against nine children.

The announcement reverses Ms Saunders decision in April that Lord Janner’s dementia meant he was not fit to stand trial and so it was not in the public interest for that to happen, despite there being sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of convictions.

A judge will now decide if Lord Janner is fit to stand trial. If not, he will face what is known as a “trial of the facts”, where a court hears evidence from alleged victims and decides only if Lord Janner committed the physical acts of abuse. There will be no finding of guilt or conviction.

In May, six of the complainants in the case requested a formal review which concluded that although there is sufficient evidence to prosecute, it is right to assume that Lord Janner will inevitably be found unfit to plead and therefore not fit to instruct his legal team, or challenge or give evidence in a trial.

‘Deeply frustrated’
Solicitor Liz Dux, who represents some of the alleged victims, said: “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.”