The publication of the BBC’s report into sexual abuse by Jimmy Savile and Stuart Hall has been delayed.
The delay is at the request of the metropolitan police who expressed concerns saying that publication of Dame Janet Smith’s report could prejudice ongoing investigations.
Smith’s review has been delayed several times and was scheduled for publication later this month.
The Guardian reports:
The inquiry said the report, which took evidence from more than 475 witnesses, has been completed and that it has “reluctantly” taken the decision to delay publication.
“The Metropolitan police has told the review that it is concerned that publication of the report now could prejudice its ongoing investigations into sexual abuse,” said a statement issued on behalf of the review. “As a result, Dame Janet has taken the decision that publication of the report (and its delivery to the BBC) should be delayed. The decision to delay publication has been made reluctantly.”
Smith’s review has contacted more than 775 people and interviewed 375 witnesses in the Jimmy Savile investigation and more than 100 in the inquiry into Stuart Hall.
Members of the review visited the court during Hall’s trial and also visited the Shepherds Bush Empire Theatre, which was owned by the BBC, and Television Centre.
“Dame Janet recognises that a further delay will be of particular disappointment to victims of Jimmy Savile and Stuart Hall whose accounts are in the report and other witnesses before the review, to all of whom she is very grateful,” said the statement. “However, it is important that the Metropolitan Police’s investigations should not be prejudiced”.
The statement says that publication of the report will take place “as soon as possible”.
Smith’s inquiry, established in October 2012, is expected to uncover hundreds of victims targeted by Savile and reveal a culture of ignorance which protected him.
Later revelations about Hall, jailed in 2013 after pleading guilty to a string of child abuse charges, prompted the BBC to announce a related inquiry, led by former high court judge Dame Linda Dobbs, which will feed into the Smith review.
The review has been investigating whether BBC bosses were or ought to have been aware of inappropriate sexual conduct on its premises, and will look to identify any lessons to be learned and consider whether the BBC’s current child protection and whistleblowing policies are fit for purpose.