Lord Greville Janner.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
LONDON – Lord Greville Janner, a Jewish peer who is suffering from dementia, was informed Thursday that despite police claims of ‘evidence’ of child sex abuse, he will not face prosecution. He has repeatedly denied all charges relating to alleged events between 1969 and 1988.
Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders, who took the decision, said the police had enough evidence to charge him with 22 types of sexual offenses. She said most of these involved nine males, some under the age of 16.
But angry police chiefs in Leicestershire, the central England area which includes the constituency Janner represented in Parliament, have indicated that they are investigating ways to overcome the prosecution’s decision and bring him to court to face his alleged victims.
Leicestershire Police Assistant Chief Commissioner Roger Bannister expressed his “great disappointment” that, despite interviewing more than 2,000 people and submitting a “comprehensive file of evidence” that no action would be taken.
In her statement Saunders said that the child sex abuse accusations stemmed from Janner’s activities with residents of a Leicestershire children’s home between 1970 and the 1980s. Janner allegedly persuaded the manager of the home, Frank Beck, to provide him with access to children so that he could “perpetrate serious sexual offenses on children”.
Janner, 86, who served as president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and as vice president of the World Jewish Congress, took a prominent role in representing the Jewish community on a wide range of issues. Besides his leadership of the campaign to secure the release of Soviet Jewry, he is probably best known for his pursuit of former Nazis and the establishment of the Holocaust Educational Trust to ensure the memory of the victims is never forgotten.
A barrister before he entered Parliament, Janner moved to the House of Lords when he retired from the House of Commons in 1997. His attendance and participation in debates tailed off in recent years, as his dementia increased in severity.
Saunders said that mistakes had been made in not putting Janner on trial previously during the three previous investigations into his alleged activities. However, after several medical tests, the severity of his condition means that “his evidence could not be relied upon in court and he could not have any meaningful engagement with the court process and as a result the court would find it impossible to proceed.”
In a statement issued by his family, Janner was described as a “man of great integrity and high repute, with a long and unblemished record of public service.”
“As the Crown Prosecution Service indicated today, this decision does not mean or imply that any of the allegations that have been made are established or that Lord Janner is guilty of any offense,” the statement said.