Marion Janner, daughter of the late Greville Janner, has said in a television interview that she has “never” questioned her father’s innocence and is “absolutely” convinced his name will be cleared.
Child abuse allegations
Allegations of child abuse by the late Lord Janner of Braunstone, QC, first emerged publicly in 1991; however, it was deemed that there was not enough evidence to proceed with a charge. Another investigation in 2002 did not result in a charge, as the Crown Prosecution Service did not receive relevant documents. A third criminal challenge came in 2007, when it was again deemed that there was not enough evidence to press charges.
After the presentation of substantive evidence, the decision was eventually made to charge the ex-MP and House of Lords peer for historic sex abuse. However, various delays meant that he only appeared in court in person on one occasion and this was to simply give his name before the Magistrate’s Court referred his case to the Crown Court.
With the former Labour peer’s death in December 2015, criminal proceedings for the 22 allegations of historical sex abuse stopped. The alleged victims of his abuse – which is claimed to date back 50 years – however, remained eager to gain justice, especially after so many delays in the presentation of facts.
The government’s independent inquiry into child sexual abuse led by Justice Lowell Goddard, which is also looking into historic allegations of sex in a number of institutions, will examine the allegations of abuse made against Janner.
Speaking on BBC’s Newsnight Ms Janner said: “It’s an outrage, an absolute outrage. Now Dad is dead, there’s not the possibility of the other side of the story being heard. It’s the people making the accusations word against a corpse, which doesn’t work. It cannot be just. The other 12 strands are all institutions – big institutions. If they decided to look at individuals, they could have chosen someone who was alive and convicted – instead they have chosen someone who is dead and not convicted.”
Following Lord Janner’s death the case turned into a civil claim against Janner’s estate, for which Peter Garsden, Head of the Child Abuse department at Simpson Millar solicitors, is leading a team of solicitors representing a number of victims.
Speaking on BBC News Mr Garsden said: “It is alarming that the Janner family have found the air of publicity when the Goddard Inquiry is part way through preparations for a hearing next year. They were invited to take part, and have the opportunity, by implication, to put questions to the witnesses such as the complainants, against Lord Janner. The fact that they have chosen to decline to take part in the Inquiry should not entitle them to criticise its format, and the way in which it is proceeding. There is no doubt that the whole purpose of the Inquiry is to look for links between institutional abuse and public bodies, in order to ascertain if opportunities were missed to prevent abuse from taking place. As the abuse, in the Janner case, took place in institutions it is an ideal example of the type of case which should be rigorously investigated. The victims missed at least 4 opportunities to have Lord Janner prosecuted in his lifetime owing to the conduct of the Crown Prosecution Service. It would thus be wholly inequitable to deny them the same right at a public inquiry, albeit after the death of the alleged abuser. To criticise the motives of complainants against a background of compensation seeking is to completely misunderstand not only these complainants but all victims of child abuse whose primary motive is always to seek justice and the truth.”
Hearings into the allegations against Lord Janner are due to take place in March next year.
Claims against the late politician were originally expected to be aired during inquiry proceedings starting in September, before adjourned at a preliminary hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London last Tuesday.