Ciaranfagan — Leicester Mercury May 26, 2015
Leicestershire Police has made its first move in its legal bid to overturn a decision to not put Greville Janner on trial for alleged sexual abuse of children.
The force today wrote to the director of public prosecutions, (DPP), – who last month ruled out taking action against the 86-year-old peer because of his ill-health – to explain why it believes the allegations should be tested in court.
The DPP, Alison Saunders, has 14 days to respond to the force’s submission and to say whether she intends to reverse or stick by her decision.
In a statement issued this morning, the force said: “Subject to her response, the force reserves its right to seek a judicial review of the decision.
“In order to protect its legal position, the force does not intend to elaborate upon this statement at this time.”
Lord Janner’s family has insisted he innocent of any crime.
Last month, Leicestershire Police revealed it had launched an investigation, codenamed Operation Enamel, in 2013 and traced 25 people who allege that they were sexually abused by the former Labour MP for Leicester West as long ago as 1970.
Officers spoke to more than 2,000 people and took 442 statements.
About 600 items seized as part of the investigation included cine film and videos, police said.
The force submitted its evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service, (CPS), last July, with more sent later.
The DPP announced the investigation had collected sufficient evidence to charge Lord Janner.
However, she said legal action against him would not be in the public interest because his Alzheimer’s Disease meant he was not fit to stand trial.
She also said Lord Janner should have been charged as a result of previous Leicestershire Police investigations dating back to 1991.
Ordering an inquiry, Ms Saunders said at the time: “It is a matter of deep regret that the decisions in relation to the previous investigations were as they were.
“Had the previous decisions been to prosecute, as they should have been, Lord Janner would have had the opportunity to challenge the evidence and defend himself through the trial process, with a jury ultimately deciding on his guilt or innocence some years ago.
“Victims of the alleged offences have been denied the opportunity of criminal proceedings in relation to the offences of which they have complained.
“It is of concern that such proceedings did not take place as a result of what the CPS now consider to be wrong decisions.”
Leicestershire’s Assistant Chief Constable Roger Bannister, who oversaw the investigation into Lord Janner, said: “Thanks primarily to the courage of 25 victims who have made a complaint and the professionalism of the investigation team, we have built a case that the DPP has acknowledged is the result of a thorough investigation, evidentially sufficient and gives rise to a realistic chance of conviction.
“There is credible evidence that this man carried out some of the most serious sexual crimes imaginable over three decades, against children who were highly vulnerable and the majority of whom were in care.
“I am extremely worried about the impact the decision not to prosecute him will have on those people and, more widely, I am worried about the message this decision sends out to others who have suffered, and are suffering, sexual abuse.
“We are exploring what possible legal avenues there may be to challenge this decision.”
Leicestershire Police did not name Lord Janner in today’s and previous statements. Previously, the force has said it only names suspects once they have made their first appearance in court.
However, the CPS routinely names people after they have been charged, prior to their first court appearance.