Six men drop Lord Janner compensation claims

Lord Janner Image copyright PA

Six men who accused the late Lord Janner of child sexual abuse have discontinued a legal case aimed at winning damages from his estate.

Their lawyer said they had received "categorical assurances" their claims would be heard as part of the wider inquiry into child sexual abuse.

The family of the Labour peer said his "reputation as a man who devoted his life to good has been restored".

A criminal case against Lord Janner ended when he died in December 2015.

The lawyer for the six alleged victims, Richard Scorer from Slater and Gordon solicitors, said: "Our clients have always wanted to get to the truth and to have their voices heard.

"We have pursued every available legal avenue on their behalf.

"With the civil cases, we knew that we would have a fight on our hands in achieving this because the civil action was launched so long after their alleged abuse.

"But we recognised how important it was for our clients to take this action after the failure of four separate criminal investigations."

Lord Janner was charged with 22 sexual offences dating back to the 1960s, but the 87-year-old was found unfit to stand trial just days before he died in 2015.

Six of those who would have accused him in court began the process of suing his estate.

The Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse in England and Wales (IICSA), established in 2014, also said it would conduct a "full investigation" into the claims.

But the IICSA, chaired by Prof Alexis Jay, later decided it would focus instead on the way institutions responded to the allegations.

The inquiry plans to examine whether social workers, Leicestershire County Council, police and prosecutors did enough to get to the bottom of the allegations.

It has not yet committed to making a "finding" on the basic facts of the Janner case - in effect determining whether there is compelling evidence he abused children.

The IICSA has also said it would have to delay public hearings until the courts had dealt with the claims by the alleged victims, and a separate investigation into potential misconduct by police officers had been concluded.

The six men suing Lord Janner would have had to prove in court their long delay in bringing the cases was justified because they had expected various police investigations into Lord Janner to have established the truth.

Richard Scorer said: "Our clients have now received categorical assurances from Prof Alexis Jay that she will hear the allegations of abuse by the late Lord Janner as part of her wide-reaching inquiry, and that the actions of the various agencies involved will be scrutinised in detail."

As a result, he said they would "focus their efforts on working with the inquiry to discover the truth of what really happened, rather than continue to fight the civil cases against Janner's estate which are at risk of being ruled 'out of time'".

The inquiry insisted it would continue its investigation but would not confirm whether it had given those assurances to the six men or whether it would rule on the allegations against Lord Janner.

'Wholly unsubstantiated'

The family of Lord Janner say he has been exonerated after his alleged victims withdrew their attempt to prove their claims in court.

They regard the latest development as the end of the claims against him personally, saying: "the compensation lawyer's claim that the inquiry will deal with the truth of the allegations is a smokescreen".

The inquiry has already said it would not allow full cross-examination of the alleged victims, comparable to what would happen in a criminal court.

The Janner family said: "The inquiry refuses us the right to cross-examine and its remit does not cover whether the allegations were true or false but deals with alleged institutional failings.

"We want to thank all those who stood by our family through this nightmare.

"The allegations against our late father were wholly unsubstantiated and an appalling injustice. "

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