Police and CPS Missed Chances to Prosecute Lord Janner

Written 19th January 2016 by Olliers Solicitors

Shortly before he died in December 2015, Lord Grenville Janner, who by then had dementia, was accused of 22 counts of sexual offences against boys between the 1960s and 1980s.

On Friday 15 January 2016 Mr Justice Openshaw brought to an end criminal proceedings against Lord Janner for all offences following receipt by the court of formal evidence of his death.

The results of an independent inquiry into the handling of allegations by Leicestershire Police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have now been published which severely criticises both the Police and the CPS. The report found that Lord Janner escaped prosecution on three occasions as a result of failings by both parties.

Independent Inquiry Lord Janner Allegations

An independent inquiry into the handing of past allegations was commissioned by The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) last year, when she stated that decisions not to prosecute following previous investigations into Lord Janner were wrong. Retired High Court Judge Sir Richard Henriques was asked to conduct an independent review into the CPS decision making and handling of all past allegations relating to the Lord Janner case and to make any recommendations he felt appropriate.

The independent inquiry found:

  • The decision not to charge Lord Janner in 1991 was wrong and there was enough evidence against him to provide a realistic prospect of conviction for offences of indecent assault and buggery. Furthermore, the police investigation was inadequate and no charging decision should have been taken by the CPS until the police had completed further enquiries.

  • In 2002, allegations against Lord Janner were not supplied by the police to the CPS and accordingly no prosecution was possible. This merits investigation by the IPCC.

  • There was sufficient evidence to prosecute Lord Janner in 2007 for indecent assault and buggery. He should have been arrested and interviewed.

Crown Prosecution Service Comment

In relation to the inquiry, Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders commented:

“The inquiry’s findings that mistakes were made confirms my view that failings in the past by prosecutors and police meant that proceedings were not brought. It is a matter of sincere regret that on three occasions, opportunities to put the allegations against Lord Janner before a jury were not taken.

“It is important that we understand the steps which led to these decisions not to prosecute, and ensure that no such mistakes can be made again.

“I have carefully considered the observations and conclusions made by Sir Richard Henriques. The inquiry acknowledged that the CPS has moved on hugely since these investigations and that current guidance and procedures would result in decisions that there was sufficient evidence to prosecute in all three cases considered in the report. However we are also acting on his recommendations to make further changes and improvements in the handling of such sensitive cases.”

 In his report, Sir Richard Henriques says:

 “I have no doubt that with current guidance and procedures, a case management panel would conclude that there was a sufficiency of evidence in all three cases considered in this report.”

Future Recommendations for Crown Prosecution Service

Sir Richard Henriques goes to make the following three specific recommendations for the CPS:

  1. Charging Time Limits: The DPP may wish to consider if time limits are appropriate, they are extendable only by application to a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). A three month period may expedite matters and concentrate minds. She may also wish to consider whether a lawyer who has failed to deliver a charging within a specified period should be obliged to make a report to his/her CCP.

     

  2. Referral to Central Casework Divisions (CCDs): A protocol should be established to ensure that once a case is referred to Headquarters by an Area, no terminating decision should be taken at Area level without a referral back to Headquarters.

     

  3. Sensitive Case List: There needs to be established a central log of cases referred and declined irrespective of whether a prosecution is to be commenced or not. Borderline cases should also be entered on the sensitive cases list.

The CPS have indicated they will be implementing these recommendations and other issues identified by Sir Richard Henriques in his report.  They have provided a full response to the findings.

The family of the late Lord Janner deny he is responsible for any wrongdoing.

Olliers Solicitors – Criminal Defence Solicitors

Written by Olliers Solicitors. Olliers is a specialist criminal defence law firm based in Manchester with facilities in Mayfair, London.  We have five Directors and eighteen Solicitors based in our Manchester office.   We have specialist teams dealing with Fraud, Serious Crime, Sexual Offences, Asset Recovery, Professional Disciplinary matters, Motor Offences, Prison Law and Inquests.

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