Alleged Janner victims 'devastated' after criminal case dropped


Alleged victims of the late Lord Janner have been left "devastated" after his criminal case was dropped, decades after they first accused him of child sex abuse.

Greville Janner had been charged with 22 sexual offences dating back to the 1960s against nine alleged victims, who were mostly under 16 at the time.

But legal proceedings were left in limbo following the announcement that the 87-year-old peer had died on December 19, just days after he was found unfit to stand trial at the Old Bailey.

Announcing the decision not to press ahead with the planned trial of facts, prosecutor Richard Whittam QC revealed in court that more charges were due to be brought.

Meanwhile, the defence were in the process of trying to get the case thrown out due to an "abuse of process", he said.

Mr Whittam said that a copy of the peer's death certificate had been produced for the court file bringing an end to the matter.

He said: "Death ordinarily brings proceedings to an end. There is no longer someone to convict or acquit.

"Even though the proceedings had reached a stage where Lord Janner was unfit to plead or stand trial, the proceedings are a creature of statute and the Act makes no provision for posthumous proceedings."

Trial judge Mr Justice Openshaw agreed: "There is nothing more to be said. That's the end of the proceedings, that the defendant is dead."

The prosecutor added that the Goddard Inquiry had announced in April last year that it would conduct a "full investigation into the issues surrounding allegations of sexual abuse against the defendant".

Following the short hearing, alleged victims expressed their disappointment at being denied justice "through a failure to prosecute earlier when Janner was alive and well".

Liz Dux, specialist abuse lawyer at Slater and Gordon, who represents eight alleged victims, said: "My clients are obviously devastated that they are no longer able to give their evidence in a criminal court.

"They understand the reasons why but that doesn't make up for the real travesty - that many gave their statements decades ago and have been denied justice through a failure to prosecute earlier when Janner was alive and well.

"They sincerely hope that the Goddard Inquiry will prioritise this matter, will allow them to give their evidence in person and will make findings of fact.

"It is vital that all the evidence that has painstakingly been gathered over the years is carefully considered by the independent inquiry and that findings of fact are made public."

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Alison Saunders had originally decided that Lord Janner should not be charged with alleged child sex crimes because of his ill health.

But that was overturned by an independent review last year.

Last month, Janner was formally declared unfit to stand trial due to his "deteriorating and irreversible" dementia and a trial of facts was fixed for April.

In a trial of the facts, a jury considers the evidence against an individual but there is no guilty verdict and the court cannot pass sentence.

All it can do is make a hospital order, a supervision order, or an order for the defendant's absolute discharge.