Lord Greville Janner served as Labour MP for Leicester from 1970 to 1997. In 1991 allegations of child sex abuse were made against the then Labour peer, allegations which he denied at the time and consequently no further action was taken.
However, earlier in 2015 those allegations resurfaced – with six alleged victims coming forward with details of abuse said to span over 4 decades.
Janner was diagnosed with dementia in 2008 and his condition was the reason behind a decision by Director of Public Prosecutions not to bring charges against him. This decision was later overruled after an appeal by the alleged victims and Janner was summoned to court. In total Janner was charged with 22 counts of historical child sex abuse against young boys, including 15 counts of indecent assault and 7 further counts of a separate sexual offence.
With no improvement to Janner’s mental condition, a judge ruled at the start of December 2015 that he was unfit to stand trial based on based on the evidence of four experts. As a result of this, it was planned that a ‘trial of the facts’ would take place in April next year. Such a trial would not result in Lord Janner’s guilt or conviction, instead a jury would make a decision surrounding whether or not he actually committed the acts of physical abuse.
But this was not to be and Lord Greville Janner passed away on 19th December 2015, just a short time after this decision was made.
‘Robbed of Justice’
It has been reported that his victims now feel as though they have been ‘robbed of justice’ by Janner’s passing. There is also the concern that the planned ‘trial of the facts’ will no longer go ahead.
A former head of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has stressed that this is not necessarily the case. Speaking on BBC 4’s Today show recently, Ken Macdonald said:
“The whole point of a trial of the facts is that it does not exist to determine the guilt or innocence of anyone.
“There’s no question of a penal sanction at its conclusion. So it doesn’t, I suppose, require the presence of the defendant. In fact, it only takes place when the defendant is incapable of taking part, as Lord Janner unfortunately was.
“The argument for continuing is that [Janner] was not going to play any part in these proceedings in any event even if he had not unfortunately died.”
Despite such claims, Mr Macdonald does not think the trial of facts should proceed in Janner’s death. He added:
“I think there’s something unseemly about a criminal process to determine the acts of a person who has already died. That would be a ground-breaking proceeding, and probably ground-breaking in an unfortunate way.”
In further U-turn, it has recently come to light that Lord Janner’s £2 million North London flat was transferred back to him before he passed away. The property was signed over to his children in March last year, as police investigated sex abuse claims. This ultimately increases Janner’s alleged victims’ chances of compensation should they attempt to sue his estate.
CPS – ‘Procedural Implications’
Meanwhile, the Crown Prosecution Service said today that it is bearing in mind the ‘procedural implications’ of the sex abuse case against Janner. The CPS has said that the matter will now be considered at a court hearing next year.
In a statement, the CPS said:
“Greville Janner faced criminal proceedings for child sex offences, with a trial of the facts scheduled to take place in April 2016.
“When a defendant dies during criminal proceedings, it is usual that the case no longer goes ahead following formal confirmation of the defendant’s death at a hearing before the court.
“However, we are considering the procedural implications of this specific case. As the High Court will close today until January 11 2016, there can be no hearing before that date.”
It has been suggested his case may be considered as part of the Goddard inquiry, a wider investigation into child abuse in Britain which may take years to conclude.
Sexual Abuse Claims – Expert Advice
Hampson Hughes Solicitors specialises in directing sexual abuse claims in a considerate and compassionate manner. Our Abuse & Criminal Injuries Department is headed by Greg Neill – Greg is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL).
For an open and friendly conversation about your situation, and to find out how we can assist you relevant to your individual experience, call 0800 888 6 888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You will be given the direct-dial of your case handler, meaning that you will always be able to reach the person you need.
Sources: Mail Online; Mail Online