It has been reported by the Telegraph and Leicester Mercury that 9 cases against Lord Janner have collapsed, as Slater and Gordon withdrew 6 cases against the alleged deceased abuser. Unsurprisingly, Janner’s next of kin, namely his 3 children, have jumped upon this development, and proclaimed it proves that the victims/survivors’ allegations are unfounded.
The family maintain this reinforces their argument that the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (“IICSA”) should no longer proceed with the investigation into their deceased father, because its focus should rather be upon Parliament/Public Bodies, not an individual. They have called for the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd to intervene.
I gave an interview to BBC Radio 4 Today Programme this morning in response to the allegations, and to set the record straight. I wanted to show that the cases which have been withdrawn do not imply that the Claimants can be criticised in any way whatsoever, as Richard Scorer’s comments in both papers show.
To summarise point by point:-
- The cases which have been withdrawn do not imply that the allegations are withdrawn.
- Before a case is discontinued it has to be assessed from a risk assessment point of view. Many different factors are taken into account.
- Daniel Janner QC has made it clear that he is determined to take all cases to trial with the consequent costs involved.
- The estate of Lord Janner is worth, allegedly, between £1 million, and £2 million. Legal Costs are a first charge on the estate, thus if the estate is diluted by the legal fees planned, then there will be no money left to pay compensation.
- There are issues on time delay caused by the time of reporting of incidents initially.
- We are still pursuing the cases where Simpson Millar are instructed, and have not discontinued them. None of them as yet have been issued in Court.
- The chances of the victims obtaining justice, when there is such opposition from the family in response, is less likely.
- The victims are clearly hanging their hopes upon the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). Sadly, the Janner family are also trying to demolish that investigation as well. Whilst one has to admire their determination and pertinacity, their attitude does nothing to assuage the anger and frustration which our clients clearly feel. It rekindles their psychological symptoms, and shows a lack of sensitivity towards them.
- IICSA are considering wholly different issues than the civil cases, notwithstanding several similarities and common issues.
- IICSA are looking at the way in which public bodies, and other organisations like the Labour Party, may have interfered with the various attempts to prosecute Lord Janner since 1991. Was pressure brought to bear upon the Police by those in authority, which resulted in him not being prosecuted? Certainly, years ago, there was a fear that if public figures faced scandals it could affect national security and ultimately bring about the downfall of government. Today we look at transparency in a wholly different way.
- Inevitably, the police and Crown Prosecution Service, should have prosecuted Janner years ago. Just because the criminal prosecutions did not take place, should not mean that the victims do not have the right to a fair trial many years later.
- We will also be supporting our clients as IICSA works its way towards hearings, which are presently halted due the IPCC inquiry.
What now happens to Simpson Millar cases remains to be seen, but this development does not help the way in which we view tactics in the future.