As we hear of a victim of abuse who was allegedly taken to the Houses of Parliament and abused in the chapel, as reported by BBC Midlands today last night, there was also mention of Crown Prosecution Service cutbacks in a debate which took place yesterday in the Houses of Parliament. The CPS says it needs £50 million to service the new crisis in investigation of non-recent abuse allegations.
So how can the CPS be expected to cope with the increase in work if their funds are to be cut back?
So will Lord Janner stand trial or or not? He has been very vocal in denying all the allegations made against him, as his family. He is innocent until proven guilty, of course. The question is whether a legal trial of the veracity of the allegations will ever be made. Certainly civil actions are intended, but will a criminal case proceed?
Certainly the result of the review into the decision not to prosecute is imminent, and expected any day now. The CPS will make sure that my client hears the result before the media do so. As is their right, the clients will be given the opportunity to have a meeting in order to explain whatever decision is going to be made, which is only right and proper.
There are 2 alternatives:-
- The Independent QC decides that Janner is to be charged with several criminal charges concerning those whom he is alleged to have abused. One assumes that the DPP will follow his decision – could it be possible for her to refuse to accept the advice set out?In this case, there will be a trial of the facts with a view to some sort of order being made but not a criminal conviction. At least, however, in this example the victims complaints will be heard, if not orally as evidence, in outline by legal counsel.Effectively, however, the QC will have overruled the decision of the DPP, so there will probably be calls for her resignation. In effect, the result will be that Alison Saunders decision will be deemed to have been wrong.
- The QC decides that the status quo should remain and Janner not be charged. In this event, there will be a huge outcry, and a media circus.In this event it is possible that there will be calls for the Courts to intervene by way of Judicial Review. It is possible for both the Independent QC & the DPP to have been wrong, such that the victims will have the right to call for the Courts to intervene and overrule the DPP. It is such a high profile case that such proceedings might have attractions.Leicestershire police have already said that they are contemplating Judicial Review proceedings against the DPP.The point is, will the Chief Constable, having read the review of the QC, decide to use public money to challenge both the DPP and the QC’s decision by way of Judicial Review proceedings?
To do so, he would have to prove in Court that both the Director of Public Prosecutions, and an Independent QC, have got it very badly wrong, or to put it in legal language, made the sort of decision that no reasonable decision maker could make. He would have to show that they have either failed to take into account a material fact, not consulted properly, or taken something into account that should have been ignored. A tall order, one could argue.
So angry are all the victims, and indeed the public, that democracy probably demands that a trial takes place.
My money is on the independent QC agreeing with the DPP, and for no charges to be brought. We will see. Unless of course the QC decides against charging and the DPP overules his review decision. That would be novel. Will the DPP be influenced by feelings that if she does other than charge Janner, her position will be at risk? One would hope that the public good, or rather the victims good will remain a paramount consideration.