After being granted core participant status into the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) family members of the late Lord Janner have claimed that they will try to undermine the abuse inquiry from within.
Responding to the decision, Peter Garsden – who is representing a group action against Lord Janner and Leicestershire County Council – explains that, while remaining sympathetic to their application, he feels that the family should not have been granted core participant status to an inquiry that they have derided since its inception.
In January last year, the inquiry made an invitation for applications for core participant status for the investigations into the allegations of the late Lord Janner; the deadline for these applications was set as February 2016.
Lord Janner’s family missed this deadline and continually stated that they would not be seeking core participant status. It is assumed that this is because they did not want to legitimise an inquiry that they saw holding little merit.
Upon further conversations between the Janner family and inquiry staff an application for core participant status for Lord Janner’s children, Daniel Janner QC, Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner and Marion Janner, was made.
Discussing the approval despite the late application, Professor Jay said in a statement:
“Although it is plain that the three applicants could have sought designation earlier in the investigation, and have not provided a reason for only doing so now, I am satisfied that the delay should not otherwise disbar their applications for core participant status.”
Participant Status for Lord Janner
Professor Jay went on to explain her decision to grant Janner’s family core participant status, stating that if Lord Janner was still alive it is likely that he would have been granted core participant status, as she reasoned that:
“As the individual against whom the underlying allegations have been made, he [Lord Janner] may have been at risk of explicit, or significant, criticism during the Inquiry proceedings. He would also have been someone who (through, for example, his evidence to the Kirkwood Inquiry) could have been said to have played a direct and significant role in relation to matters under investigation.”
It appears that this reasoning has now been passed to Lord Janner’s family, who are the executors of his estate and have the same interest in the inquiry, with the same possibility of their wider family name being placed under explicit or significant criticism during proceedings.
Undermining Inquiry Process
Concerns have been raised over the attitude of Janner’s family to the inquiry, who have been long standing critics of the inquiry, abuse victims, and the investigation into claims about their father.
After being granted core participant status, Lord Janner’s son – Daniel Janner QC – was quoted in the Telegraph saying:
“It gives me the chance to undermine the inquiry from within. It is a macabre show trial. Our Core Participant status does not legitimise an utterly disgraceful and unjust process.”
Even when applying for their core participant status, Lord Janner’s family was undermining the inquiry leadership, as they asserted that Professor Jay should not be the person to consider their application, it is thought that this is because they believe that she should step down as Chair.
Reacting to the decision to grant the Janner family with core participant status, Peter said:
“The Janner Family has previously rejected the IICSA, saying that they disagree with its structure and purpose entirely, so why should they be allowed to join so late – a year past the deadline?”
“One could sympathise with their wish to represent their father’s interests as his children, and executors of his estate, but with his statements after the decision Daniel Janner QC has admitted just being simply interested in ‘undermining the inquiry from within’.”
“There are no signs that they are intending to instruct lawyers to represent them, and as such seem determined to cause trouble, something which IICSA should not tolerate.”
“Either they have misled the inquiry as to their intentions when making their application, or made clear their purpose in response to which IICSA should have refused their application.”
“Daniel Janner QC has put out, at every available opportunity, slanderous media statements about the credibility of the victims, who are vulnerable and damaged. They should not be subjected to trial by media when both the inquiry and civil litigation is still pending.”
“Whilst there are inquiry rules preventing cross examination without permission at hearings, I hope that Daniel Janner QC will be refused permission to cross examine the victims in view of his much publicised criticism via the media and biased attitude to the subject matter.”