Leicester

Lord Janner sex abuse charge decision fails 'victims'

Lord Janner
Image caption Greville Janner was Labour MP for Leicester North West and then Leicester West

Alleged victims of child sex abuse by Lord Janner have been failed by the decision not to charge him, a police and crime commissioner (PCC) has said.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said the former Leicester MP would not face charges because of the severity of his dementia.

Sir Clive Loader, Leicestershire's PCC, described the move as "perverse".

Lord Janner "is entirely innocent of any wrongdoing", the peer's family has said.

The abuse allegations relate to residents in children's homes in Leicestershire in the 1970s and 1980s.

More than a dozen individuals made allegations to police relating to Lord Janner, 86.

'Really angry'

The "core allegation" was that as Labour MP for Leicester West at the time, Greville Janner befriended the manager of a children's home to allow him access so that he could "perpetrate serious sexual offences on children".

Leicestershire Police interviewed more than 2,000 people throughout the course of its most recent investigation launched in 2013, and a "comprehensive file of evidence" was submitted to the CPS.

Sir Clive, a Conservative, said he was "really angry" at the decision not to charge Lord Janner, describing it as "contrary to any notion of natural justice".

"I cannot believe that any right-minded person will understand or support it," he said.

"For decades this man is alleged to have carried out premeditated, systematic sex crimes against young boys and one girl who were in the care of the local authority.

"I think this is a really bad decision. It's really bad for these victims; it's bad for other victims of a similar crime, who perhaps won't now come forward."

Image caption Sir Clive said the decision could deter other victims of abuse speaking out

He said there was no dispute that Lord Janner was not in a fit state to act in his own defence, but that another mechanism - a hearing of facts - could be held.

"I don't know why it has been decided this couldn't happen, but I think it is a really bad decision."

Lord Janner was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2009.

'Terribly let down'

Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders said there was enough evidence to charge him with 22 sex offences, but he was now too sick to stand trial.

The announcement also met with angry reaction from campaigners, who said the move not to prosecute was "bizarre" and accused the establishment of "closing ranks" and failing abuse victims.

Peter Saunders, founder of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, said: "I am not easily shocked, but I'm shocked at the catalogue of mistakes and errors and failings to launch a prosecution.

"I think many victims and survivors will be feeling terribly let down at the moment."

Lord Janner was first interviewed in 1991 when his name was mentioned in the trial of Frank Beck, one of Britain's most notorious paedophiles, who was jailed for abusing boys in his care at Leicestershire children's homes.

The politician was accused of grooming and abusing a boy aged between 13 and 15, but the CPS did not pursue the case.

He was investigated again in 2002 and 2006 when fresh allegations surfaced, but no action was taken.

Ms Saunders admitted the case was not "thoroughly investigated" at the time and only properly looked at under the most recent investigation, Operation Enamel.

She said: "It is a matter of deep regret that the decisions in relation to the previous investigations were as they were."

Image caption Lord Janner, pictured here with Tony Blair, has done nothing wrong, his family say

The Labour Party has suspended the peer, whose family say he is entirely innocent of any wrongdoing.

A retired High Court judge will now review the CPS's handling of the case.

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