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Lord Janner inquiry: Police chief denies ordering against MP's arrest

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  • Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse
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image captionLord Janner, who was a Leicester MP, died in 2015

A former police chief has denied ordering child abuse investigators not to arrest an MP.

Tony Butler was an assistant chief constable at Leicestershire Police when allegations were first made against former Leicester MP Greville Janner.

He told the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) complaints were not covered up to protect the politician.

Lord Janner, who denied all charges against him, died in 2015.

On Wednesday, the inquiry heard from a former officer who said an investigation in the 1990s was "stymied", with officers only wanting to interview the MP rather than arrest him.

In his follow-up evidence, Mr Butler said Lord Janner had been invited to a police interview because arresting him would not have have helped in gathering evidence and so was not justified.

He denied ordering officers not to arrest Lord Janner and said there had been no "cover-up".

But there were, he said, "a lot of other issues" that may have prevented a prosecution.

Mr Butler said the criminal justice system was "fairly brutal" for those making allegations of child sexual abuse, with cases involving "very substantial cross-examination, going into lots of detail, confusing children in the witness box and also using any opportunity they could to trip the child up".

The Lord Janner case

  • Lord Janner was the subject of child sex abuse allegations dating back to 1955.
  • Three police investigations took place in the 1990s and 2000s, but no charges were brought.
  • Following a fourth inquiry, he was charged in 2015 with offences against nine alleged victims. Police say 40 people accused him of abuse.
  • The peer, who suffered from dementia, was ruled unfit to plead, and died aged 87 before a trial of the facts could take place.
  • An independent inquiry in 2016 found that the three earlier investigations were "missed chances" to prosecute him.
  • Nine of Lord Janner's accusers began the process of suing his estate for damages.
  • Three dropped their cases in March 2017 and the remaining six two months later.

Lawyer Peter Joyce QC told the inquiry on Friday he had written to Leicestershire's chief constable in 1991 saying Lord Janner "must be arrested".

Mr Joyce, who led the prosecution of disgraced children's home manager Frank Beck, said he believed that "there was some evidence that should be pursued properly".

But when allegations against Lord Janner were made public, Mr Joyce changed his advice.

He told the inquiry that "anyone who knew they were about to be raided would get rid of evidence" and he saw "no point" in carrying out the arrest.

Mr Joyce added it was "extraordinary that Janner was invited for a police interview but gave no comment" back in the 1990s.

He also told the inquiry there had been "child abuse on an industrial scale" at children's homes in Leicestershire and police had "failed children utterly" over the years.

The inquiry continues.

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