Labour peer who’ll never face justice: Victims’ despair and police fury as law chief say Greville Janner will not be charged because he has Alzheimer’s
- Lord Janner will not face prosecution despite facing credible evidence
- Director of Public Prosecutions says decision comes with ‘deep regret’
- Alison Saunders tells of botched investigations in 1991, 2002 and 2007
- Former Labour MP allegedly preyed on boys in 1960s, 1970s and 1980s
Allegations: Veteran peer Lord Janner (pictured in 2002) has repeatedly denied claims he abused young boys at care homes and is now not fit to stand trial despite ‘credible evidence’
Alleged child abuse victims of Labour peer Greville Janner last night accused police and prosecutors of a 45-year cover-up over a tidal wave of evidence he is a predatory paedophile.
The 86-year-old party grandee was accused of being ‘Labour’s Cyril Smith’ and an ‘animal’ as prosecutors revealed he escaped prosecution three times over 16 years thanks to botched investigations.
Janner is accused of preying on vulnerable boys at three Leicester care homes between 1969 and 1988. Prosecutors said there remained an ‘overwhelming case’ to charge the former MP with 22 sex attacks on nine victims in children’s care homes – the youngest of whom was just ten.
But furious victims reacted with outrage after the Crown Prosecution Service said it would not try the former Leicester MP because he was suffering so much from Alzheimer’s that he could not even understand any charges against him, let alone answer them.
They accused bungling authorities of helping to cover up the crimes of a once powerful man and destroying any hope they had of justice. Child protection campaigners, MPs, police and victims said they would challenge the decision in the courts.
Lord Janner voted in the Lords 210 times between his Alzheimer’s diagnosis and the end of 2013, suggesting he might have been fit to stand trial if the authorities had acted sooner.
Last night it emerged that senior Labour MP Keith Vaz was one of 16 MPs who publicly defended Greville Janner against child sex abuse allegations at a time when prosecutors now admit the peer should have faced trial.
Mr Vaz said in 1991 that Lord Janner had been the victim of a ‘wicked attack’ and campaigned for a change in the law to prevent any repeat. Mr Vaz, the Labour candidate for Leicester East, praised Lord Janner as a ‘great survivor’.
One MP said last night Lord Janner should be stripped of his peerage, while a police watchdog said the decision was ‘wholly perverse’. One victim, now believed to be aged in his 50s, branded him an ‘animal’ who left a trail of destroyed lives.
‘He is still being protected because of his status and isn’t able to stand trial,’ he said.
Pointing: Channel 4 News filmed Lord Jenner outside his house in London on July 8 2014, in what was is the most recent moving image of the Labour peer
Director of Public Prosecutions: Last year, Alison Saunders (pictured) said prosecutors will pursue justice for victims of child sex crimes whether their cases were ’30 days or 30 years old’ – but not in the Janner case
‘They say that it’s not in the public interest, but isn’t it in the public interest to know what his victims have gone through at the hands of this man? As it stands we victims are just being pushed to the ground again and walked over.’
CPS REJECTED THREE EARLIER CHANCES TO PROSECUTE JANNER
1991: A complaint of sexual assaults by one individual who featured in the trial of paedophile care worker Frank Beck. The allegation, in essence, was one of grooming and sexual abuse of the alleged male victim between the ages of 13 and 15. The CPS decided there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.
2002: In an investigation named Operation Magnolia. Lord Janner was the subject of allegations as part of a probe into abuse children’s home. The CPS says specific allegations relating to him were not referred to them and claim police chose not to pursue him.
2006: As part of a new sex abuse investigation, Operation Dauntless, an alleged victim made allegations of serious sexual offending around 1981 by three individuals including Lord Janner. The CPS decision in 2007 was again that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.
Leicestershire Police, which was lambasted for past failings, said there was ‘credible evidence’ that Lord Janner committed ‘some of the most serious sexual crimes imaginable’.
One senior figure said justice had been ‘fundamentally undermined’, labelling the decision ‘wholly perverse and contrary to any notion of natural justice’.
Labour MP Simon Danczuk said the ‘vast majority of people will view this as a cover-up’.
Labelling the claims against Janner as ‘absolutely stomach-churning’, he said: ‘It is clear to me he shouldn’t be in the House of Lords and should be stripped of his peerage.’
Janner served as a Labour MP for 27 years from 1970 to 1997, first in Leicester North West and then Leicester West.
The son of an MP, he was a pillar of the Establishment, qualifying as a QC, taking public office and chairing the Board of Deputies of British Jews. Allegations against him were first made public in 1991 during the trial of Frank Beck, a manager of Leicester children’s homes accused of abusing more than 200 boys.
But after Beck was jailed, powerful figures rallied around Lord Janner and he stood in the House of Commons to denounce the claims as not having a ‘shred of truth’.
Despite the controversy, Tony Blair elevated the backbench politician to the Lords as a life peer within months of Labour sweeping to power in 1997.
Probes: Greville Janner, left in 1974, served as an MP for decades and was investigated in 1991, 2002 and 2007. Janner was mentioned during the trial of paediophile Frank Beck, right, who died in jail
He was investigated again in 2002 and 2006 when fresh allegations surfaced but each time the CPS decided no further action should be taken.
In January 2013, Leicestershire Police launched a fresh investigation into Lord Janner after victims came forward in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal. They uncovered evidence that Lord Janner preyed on vulnerable young boys at up to three Leicester care homes between 1969 and 1988.
Alleged victims said the politician used his hobby as a keen amateur magician to befriend and abuse them. One man claimed he was tied up and raped and others said they were violently groped and fondled against their will.
ALLEGED JANNER VICTIM FUMES OVER ‘DISGRACEFUL’ DECISION
A man who claims he was abused by Lord Janner branded the decision not to pursue the case ‘a disgrace’ and accused prosecutors of protecting the politician because of his status.
In an angry statement released via Leicestershire Police, the alleged victim told of the ‘pain and suffering’ he claims to have suffered.
And he says the peer should stand trial so alleged victims have an opportunity to have their day in court.
The man, who is not named, said Lord Janner is ‘being protected’ and today’s announcement is ‘not in the public interest’.
He said: ‘If he was an everyday person with a normal life and job, justice would [have] been served.’
He said the peer’s alleged victims are ‘just being pushed to the ground again and walked over.
‘Let someone feel the pain and suffering that I’ve endured and still going to endure for the rest of my life. It’s not a case of being found guilty or going to prison – it’s about being believed after so long being told that we were lying. Justice needs to be served.’
The man is one of 25 people who claim to have been assaulted in Leicestershire between the 1960s and 1980s by Lord Janner.
Police also reviewed three previous investigations into serious allegations about Lord Janner in 1991, 2002 and 2006. Yesterday, Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders said the politician should have been charged on each occasion.
In a damning serious of admissions, she revealed her ‘deep regret’ that mistakes by police and prosecutors let him off the hook.
Lord Janner was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2009 and requires constant care. His friend, entertainer Uri Geller, 68, said he no longer recognised him, adding: ‘The man’s mind is out, finished, totally erased.’
Yesterday Labour suspended Lord Janner as Ed Balls insisted the party has ‘acted swiftly and decisively’ over the ‘serious allegations’.
Leicestershire Police said it was ‘exploring what possible legal avenues there may be to challenge’ the CPS decision.
Sir Clive Loader, the Tory Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicestershire, said the force built an ‘overwhelming case’.
‘This decision is not just wrong – it is wholly perverse and is contrary to any notion of natural justice. I cannot believe that any right-minded person will understand or support it.’
In their first public statement since claims against Lord Janner first surfaced, his family said: ‘Lord Janner is a man of great integrity and high repute with a long and unblemished record of public service. He is entirely innocent of any wrongdoing.
‘As the Crown Prosecution Service indicated today, this decision does not mean or imply that any of the allegations that have been made are established or that Lord Janner is guilty of any offence.’
n Nick Clegg has ordered all his Liberal Democrat MPs and peers to co-operate with police investigations into Cyril Smith’s child abuse.
Influential: Lord Janner was chair of the Holocaust Educational Trust and vice-president of the World Jewish Congress
The Deputy Prime Minister has been criticised for refusing to launch an independent inquiry into what members of his party knew about the paedophile MP’s attacks on young boys over four decades.
But Mr Clegg said there was no ‘treasure trove’ of documents in the Lib-Dem archives and insisted it was a matter for detectives.
He also repeated attempts to distance his party from Smith by pointing out that the MP belonged to Labour and the Liberals before taking the Lib Dem whip in 1988. ‘No organisation can replace the police and the police must now do the job which clearly wasn’t done by the police in the past,’ he said.
TEST THAT DECIDES SUSPECT’S WELL-BEING DATES BACK 100 YEARS
The test for deciding whether a suspect is well enough to stand trial dates back nearly 200 years.
A defendant ruled to be unfit to plead cannot be found guilty or not guilty, and may not be jailed, although they can be detained in a psychiatric hospital.
Judges launch ‘fitness to plead’ process if defence lawyers claim their client will be unable to follow court proceedings, and must rely on the evidence of two or more doctors. They must apply a test first formulated in 1836 in the case of a deaf and mute man accused of bestiality.
The court then holds a ‘trial of the facts’, where a jury must decide if the defendant did the act they are accused of – but not whether they are guilty of any crime. Such a ‘trial of the facts’ could have been held for Janner.
But the CPS ruled out this possibility by insisting he should not be charged, meaning the case would not come to court at all.
Four medical experts examined Janner, two for his own legal team and two for the police and prosecutors. They all agreed he would not be able to engage meaningfully in the trial process. The CPS ruled he would ‘inevitably’ be found unfit to plead, effectively pre-empting the decision of a judge.
Labour peer: Lord Janner in 1974 outside Parliament with a child not connected to any abuse claims
Vile abuse, 3 bungled probes and a 45-year ‘cover up’, by PAUL BRACCHI
His name and face may not be immediately familiar to everyone today but, in his pomp, Lord Janner was one of the most prominent Labour politicians and campaigners of his time.
His entry in Who’s Who occupies nearly 50 lines: MP for Leicester West (1970-97)… distinguished barrister… author… broadcaster… former president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. After training at the University of Cambridge and Harvard Law School, he qualified as a barrister in 1954 and was appointed a QC in 1971. He has fought tirelessly for the return of Jewish assets held in Swiss banks by the Nazis, and was made a life peer on his retirement from the Commons in recognition of his achievements in public life.
Those are the bare facts of Greville Janner’s gilded career.
For nearly 25 years, however, a shadow has hung over Lord Janner of Braunstone in the same way it did Cyril Smith and a string of other establishment figures. We now know, from victims who have come forward following his death – too many for the allegations not to be true – that late Rochdale MP Smith was a serial paedophile. But was Janner?
Detectives have interviewed more than 20 men who claim they were abused by Janner in their youth. It is suspected he used his hobby as a magician – Janner is a member of the Magic Circle – to get close to them and gain their trust when he visited children’s homes in Leicestershire between 1969 and 1988.
But the evidence will never be tested in court after Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions, ruled that it was not in the public interest to put the Labour peer on trial because of his age and ill health.
Janner, 86, is a father of three. His youngest daughter, Laura Janner-Klausner, 51, is an ordained rabbi and serves as senior rabbi at the Movement for Reform Judaism. His son Daniel Janner is a prominent QC.
Janner’s wife Myra died in 1996 and he has not been seen outside his flat in Hampstead, north-west London, since police investigating the claims of historic sexual abuse raided it in 2013. Shortly afterwards, reports emerged that he was suffering from advanced dementia.
In the month before the raid, Janner attended the Lords 15 times, claiming £2,100 in daily allowances, which has inevitably cast a critical spotlight on the decision to not prosecute him.
Janner, it should be stressed, strongly denied the allegations against him – including claims of rape – when they surfaced nearly 25 years ago at the trial of Frank Beck, a care-home warden suspected of abusing scores of children in his care. Beck, a former Liberal councillor, was given five life sentences.
Yet, the 1991 case made sensational headlines for very different reasons.
One of those headlines can be found in a faded newspaper cutting. It reads: ‘My Commons date and night with MP Janner.’ The witness in question was Paul Winston, then aged 30, who lived at one of Beck’s care homes in Janner’s constituency. Mr Winston claimed under oath that Janner had abused him repeatedly between the ages of 13 and 15.
The Queen was pictured alongside father-of-three Lord Janner in 2003. He is now 86-years-old
He said that he had sex with Janner in a Holiday Inn hotel, at the MP’s home when his wife and children were away, and visited him in the Commons.
The jury were shown letters the MP is said to have sent to him on House of Commons notepaper. Some were reportedly signed ‘love Greville’. They are now in the hands of the police.
One was alleged to have been penned by Janner after they had stayed together at his home. ‘It feels strange not to have you flipping around me like a friendly flea!,’ the letter said. ‘In fact – I miss you.’ Referring to an encounter in the swimming pool of the Holiday Inn, Mr Winston said: ‘I was fondled in my private area. It seemed at first like a bit of fun, being thrown around the water, but he would hold me close.’
Beck used the testimony as part of his defence: that he was being prosecuted to divert attention from Janner and other high-profile (unnamed) paedophiles and that he was trying to shield the boys under his charge from them.
Paul Winston was not the only witness to implicate Janner.
Two others were called for the prosecution, saying Beck had raped them, but in cross-examination, they appeared to confirm some details of Mr Winston’s story.
One, a woman, said she heard an argument between Beck and Mr Winston in which he [Beck] was shouting that he wasn’t [allowed] to see Greville Janner any more.’ The other, a man, said Mr Winston had boasted about ‘having friends in high places’. Were the allegations made simply to muddy the waters? The jury thought so, finding Beck, who died in prison in 1994, guilty of the majority of charges against him.
Days later, Janner, then in his 60s, broke his silence on the affair by making a personal statement to Parliament. Under parliamentary rules, personal statements are not debatable, so there were no follow-up questions from MPs.
Janner told them: ‘There was, of course, not a shred of truth in any of the allegations of criminal conduct against me during the trial.
‘Meanwhile, as my wife, my family and I have had a taste of the suffering which Beck can impose on innocent people, will you join me in sending the real sufferers, the individuals who endured his homes and whose lives have been wrecked at his hands, the profound sympathy of us all?’
His statement was greeted with cheers. Fellow Labour MP Keith Vaz described Janner as a ‘brave man’ and others passed on leader Neil Kinnock’s ‘tremendous support’.
While Janner’s health has made the prospect of prosecution impossible, the stench of an establishment cover-up will continue to surround this deeply troubling case
Police interviewed Janner and Mr Winston, but no charges were ever brought against the MP.
One of the detectives who worked on the Frank Beck case was Mick Creedon, who is now Chief Constable of Derbyshire. Last year he made a sensational claim in The Times. He said there was ‘credible evidence’ against Janner and that he and his colleagues wanted to make an arrest but were prevented by ‘more senior people’ from doing so.
To put it bluntly, the investigation was blocked.
Mr Creedon said: ‘The decision was a clear one: he [Janner] will be interviewed by appointment and there won’t be a search of his home address or his constituency office, of his office in the House of Commons. It was a decision made by people more senior than me.’ The allegations against Janner remained buried in newspaper archives until the authorities began re-opening historic child abuse cases in the wake of the Jimmy Savile affair. Many revolve around the Elm Guest House, a gay sauna in Barnes, west London, where boys are believed to have been abused by a string of powerful men in the 1970s and 1980s, including Cyril Smith.
One of the people who contacted the police was Paul Winston.
At the same time, two booklets from the archives of former MP Andrew Faulds – who died in 2000 – emerged. One, a four-page leaflet entitled Janner Fails to Answer ‘Sex With Boy’ Evidence and published by a group calling itself Concerned Leicester Parents, landed on the prominent Labour backbencher’s desk in 1992.
The second, a 24-page booklet entitled Is Grenville Janner QC, MP, Above the Law?, arrived in 1995.
Both booklets appear to have been printed professionally and sent anonymously to Mr Faulds (and presumably to several other influential figures) by individuals anxious to ensure further attention was paid to the 1991 trial.
The 1995 booklet provides a detailed account of an alleged victim’s testimony. It tells how the boy spoke of meeting Janner in the Commons when he was 13.
He said was invited to Janner’s home when his wife was away.
‘We ended up in his bed together and he cuddled me. We cuddled and fondled together. I didn’t like it and told him to stop.’
So began a two-year sexual relationship, the boy claimed.
The booklet also says that the boy ‘had been able to provide the police with information about Janner’s home, hotel rooms, life, habits and person in… infinite and verifiable detail’. The 1992 leaflet also refers to an alleged victim’s ‘detailed’ evidence: ‘Such evidence, submitted under oath… requires a specific and detailed refutation.’
Crown prosecution lawyers have spent nine months studying volumes of evidence gathered by Leicestershire police against Janner.
This week officers visited Mr Winston, now in his mid-50s and living on the outskirts of Leicester, and other alleged victims in person to inform them of the decision not to proceed with the case. It has raised further questions about the CPS in the face of growing criticism of the conduct of Operation Elveden against tabloid journalists.
This is the fourth time that Janner has escaped prosecution. He was interviewed by police after the Beck trial, and was the subject of further allegations of abuse in 2002, but these were not referred to the CPS.
A third investigation was launched in 2006 after police received a complaint from yet another alleged victim. A dossier was passed to the CPS which decided there was ‘insufficient evidence’ to bring charges.
Inevitably, while Janner’s health has made the prospect of prosecution impossible, the stench of an establishment cover-up will continue to surround this deeply troubling case.
Royal family member was investigated as part of paedophile ring before cover-up, ex-cop says
The former officer claims the investigation was shut down for ‘national security’ reasons
Jon Stone Author Biography
Monday 23 March 2015
A member of the Royal family was claimed to be part of a suspected paedophile ring under investigation by police in the late 1980s, a former police officer has said.
The former Metropolitan Police officer says he was told by a detective sergeant that the investigation into the ring, which was also claimed to include an MP, was shut down for national security reasons.
“I was in a car with two other vice squad officers. … The detective sergeant said he had just had a major child abuse investigation shut down by the CPS regarding a royal and an MP,” he told the Sunday Mirror newspaper.
“He did not mention names, but he said the CPS had said it was not in the public’s interest because it ‘could destabilise national security’.”
The police officer identified the two colleagues, the newspaper said.
Sir Allan Green, the Director of Public Prosecutions and head of the CPS at the time the conversation took place, said he was not aware of any child abuse investigations shut down for national security reasons.
He however said he had been asked by a “senior person” if he had heard anything about a named MP being involved in child abuse. He said he had not.
The MP he was asked about has since died, Mr Green said.
In pictures: White Flowers Campaign to support child abuse victims
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson told the Independent: “If detailed, substantive allegations are made they will be taken seriously and looked into. However, we are not in a position to comment on speculative stories based on a chain of unnamed sources.”
The Metropolitan Police has pledged to investigate historical crimes by establishment figures “without fear of favour”.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Rodhouse told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that he was pleased that allegations of cover-ups were coming to light.
“We do think we are getting somewhere with these wider enquiries and we are seeing people coming forward. We have seen lots of coverage this week around allegations of cover-ups, and I think it’s helpful that this is being spoken about and people are coming forward.
“We will go where the evidence takes us, without fear or favour, I think that is what the public expect and that is what the investigators are doing and are keen to continue to do.”
The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating 14 related allegations of impropriety by officer stretching from the 1970s to 2005.
The Home Secretary Theresa May said earlier month that child sexual abuse ran through British society like a “stick of Blackpool rock” and warned that the public did not fully “appreciate the true scale” of exploitation.
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