Greville Janner to be prosecuted for child sexual offences
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Alison Saunders will now bring criminal proceedings against Greville Janner for child sex offences.
This follows a review of the case under the recently introduced CPS Victims’ Right to Review scheme, which allows victims to have their cases looked at again, no matter who in the CPS made the original decision not to prosecute.
In the past year the scheme has meant that more than 200 prosecutions have been brought that would not have been brought otherwise.
In April this year the DPP decided that there was sufficient evidence to prosecute, meaning that, in her view, if there could be a full criminal trial a jury would be likely to convict Lord Janner. However, the DPP considered that it was not in the public interest to prosecute. This was because there was undisputed medical evidence that Greville Janner was not fit to stand trial which meant there could not be a full criminal trial and he could not therefore be found guilty of any offence and because he was not a danger to the public. It was also in light of the fact that the DPP sought assurances that the complainants would have the opportunity to give their account to the public inquiry led by Justice Goddard which has been set up to look at cases which may have been mishandled in the past.
Without the compelling medical evidence the DPP has made clear that she would have brought a prosecution.
In May, six of the complainants in this case requested a formal Right to Review, and at the DPP’s request, David Perry QC was instructed to provide advice to inform the CPS review of the decision.
The review concluded that it was in the public interest to bring proceedings before the court.
In reaching that conclusion, the review agreed that although there is sufficient evidence to prosecute, it is right to assume that Greville Janner will inevitably [?] be found unfit to plead and therefore not fit to instruct his legal team and not fit to challenge or give evidence in a trial. Therefore the most likely outcome of a “trial of the facts” would be an absolute discharge, which is neither punishment nor conviction.
Alison Saunders said: “The Victims’ Right to Review scheme has brought a much needed voice for victims of crime and this review shows that any decision can be reversed, no matter who has made it. It is a scheme I helped to bring in and it is a process I fully support and am not above. I requested a non-CPS lawyer to advise on this case so that the review would be seen as fully independent. That was the right thing to do, and was a decision I made in the interests of fairness and maintaining public confidence in the criminal justice system.
“I have always said that in my view this was an extremely difficult and borderline case [where and when did you say this?] 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.
“The case is first listed at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 7 August 2015.”
As there are now active criminal proceedings nothing should be said, commented on, or shared online which may prejudice those. It will be a matter for the court to consider if Greville Janner should appear or be excused on medical grounds from attending court.
The CPS has also received a draft of Sir Richard Henriques’ report which the DPP commissioned on the handling and decision making in relation to previous allegations made against Greville Janner in 1991, 2002 and 2007. It is now being finalised, but it is clear that it will confirm the DPP’s view that the CPS decisions in 1991 and 2007 were wrong as well as concluding that the handling of the case previously by both police and prosecutors was unsatisfactory.
The DPP, Alison Saunders, said: “It is a matter of real regret that prosecutions weren’t brought by the police and CPS in the past.
“We have brought forward this decision as public speculation on this review has brought damaging and unacceptable uncertainty for the complainants in this case. We have now done what we can to inform the complainants of the outcome of the review and I have offered to meet each of them should they wish.”
The DPP has demonstrated her personal commitment to tackling the sexual abuse of children – in 2014-15 the CPS brought more charges and delivered more convictions than ever before [That is not saying very much, in view of the scale of the past failure of the CPS to prosecute when it should have].
Alison Saunders has demonstrated that she is unfit to hold the office of Director of Public Prosecutions and should resign, failing which she should be dismissed.
In view of her known past association with Greville Janner she should have recused herself and referred the decision whether to prosecute to the Attorney General. She received advice that a prosecution was in the public interest but chose to disregard it when making her faulty decision.
Public anger at the obvious injustice of her decision compelled its reversal, following the recommendation of a review by an independent QC. After much wasted time and further heartache for the alleged victims the case now goes before the court for its adjudication, as anyone of sound judgement could have foreseen.
Though the review was right to recommend prosecution, both it and the DPP are wrong, particularly in the light of facts unearthed by Exaro and others, to presume that it is ‘inevitable’ that the court will deem Janner unfit to plead. This is a matter for the court and should be pre-judged by no one, as a competent director of public prosecutions would appreciate.
Her unwarranted delay of the inevitable in her treatment of the Janner case has added to the growing perception of an Establishment cover-up of organized sex crime against children. This is a swamp that must be drained if public confidence in the administration of justice is to be restored.