On Saturday, news outlets across the UK reported on the death of former labour peer Greville Janner. Janner, who died aged 87 after suffering dementia, was accused of 22 counts of none recent sex offences against boys and had been due to face a “trial of the facts” in April next year. The death of Greville Janner means that the widely anticipated trial of the facts is now unlikely to go ahead. The CPS who have not yet commented on what will happen are expected to make a formal announcement this week.
Child abuse solicitor Peter Garsden, whose law firm Simpson Millar are representing 9 clients who have alleged abuse by Lord Janner said: “The cancellation of the criminal proceedings will mean that the victims will now be unable to give evidence, and contribute to the judicial process of getting to the truth of what happened. When the criminal charges were originally announced last summer, it gave the victims some hope that justice would not only be done, but be seen to be done. Now, any hope which was felt, will turn into disappointment. Inevitably, the effect upon the victims will be to make them feel cheated and frustrated by the death. One must not lose sight of the fact that the victims of abuse by Mr Janner are the most important people, whose rights and interests must be protected as far as possible.
Labour MP Simon Danczuk, who led calls for Lord Janner to face justice, said: “Obviously it is very sad for Lord Janner’s family that he has passed away, though it is also extremely sad for his alleged victims.” He added: “It is disappointing that all the evidence is not now to be brought before a court. It is a very sad day for justice.”
Mr Garsden believes that the only legal proceedings which are now possible will be civil claims against the estate of Mr Janner. Inevitably the prospects of success will have been affected by his death, but it is still possible to pursue civil claims against not only the estate but also any other relevant parties such as Leicester City Council who owned the Beeches and other children’s homes which are the subject of allegations.
Operation Enamel co-ordinated by Leicestershire Police continues against other individuals who face allegations connected with this enquiry.
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