Hacking the memories of Greville Janner: the CPS shoots the messengers
The hunt for Westminster VIP paedophiles has focused in recent days on Lord Grenville Janner, who says he’s innocent of allegations that he abused boys dating back to the 1960s. Janner, a Labour peer, and his accusers won’t get their days in court because the good Lord has dementia and Alison Saunders, the director of public prosecutions, says he won’t be able to understand what’s being put to him.
The Sunday Times says this has resulted in a row:
ALISON SAUNDERS, the director of public prosecutions (DPP), last night faced demands for a judge-led review of the decision making that has spared Lord Janner child abuse charges and resulted in a string of failed prosecutions against journalists.
Contrasting the huge three-year police and prosecution operation on phone-hacking to the hunt for so-called VIP paedos is a fair point. The primary charges against tabloid journalists were that they listened to private voicemail messages before 2006 and paid public officials for information. Operation Elveden saw journalists charged with the crime of conspiring to commit misconduct in public office.
The investigation has cost millions. It has ended in farce:
The Met Police has spent more than £11m on Operation Elveden, which last year had 56 dedicated officers and staff. Police have made 87 arrests and interviewed 56 suspects under caution. Dozens of those investigated have been journalists, 29 of whom have been charged. Of those, 13 have been cleared following trials.
The CPS has spent a fortune chasing journalists for trying to find information they believe to be in the public interest. Hacking crime victims’ phones is ugly and indefensible. But the pursuit of journalist was a more about censorship than justice.
As Mick Hume notes, without paying insiders, the truth often will not out:
Even the international gold standard of investigative reporting – the pursuit of the Watergate scandal by the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, which eventually brought down US president Richard Nixon in 1974 – was not quite as squeaky clean as some ethical purists like to claim. A couple of years ago a memo came to light, written by Bernstein, summarising his conversation with a member of the Watergate grand jury. The reporters had always denied that they illegally obtained crucial information from a grand juror – unsurprisingly, since Judge John Sirica has made clear that he would have sent Woodward and Bernstein to jail ‘had they actually obtained information from that grand juror’. Which, in fact, it appears that they did, risking jail to expose corruption in the White House.
But the CPS that’s so hot on journalists is less keen on seeing Janner and his accusers in court.
The Sunday Times continues:
Saunders’s leadership of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is in crisis after Lord Macdonald, a former director of the service, launched an unprecedented attack on her decision not to try Janner and Theresa May, the home secretary, voiced concerns about the case…
The QC added that it had been “wrong” to prosecute journalists over newspaper payments to public officials after four new acquittals left Operation Elveden, the £20m criminal investigation into the practice, in tatters…
Yesterday Macdonald said that, given that the CPS had missed “so many opportunities in the past” to put Janner on trial, the case should have gone to court. “It might have been wiser for the CPS to say we are going to have this matter resolved in the full, public glare of a courtroom, rather than simply by the DPP making a decision because, really, given the failures of the CPS in the past on this case, it was in the position of needing to re-establish its credibility of its decision making in this case,” he said.
So. Why didn’t Macdonald act all thsoe years ago, when Janner was in better health? The BBC reports:
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Saturday, Lord Macdonald said he had never been notified about the 2007 police investigation, for reasons which he “did not understand”.
“It was apparently a serious police investigation, and it should have been absolutely clear to the lawyers in Leicestershire that this case should have been sent to London.
“I would have undoubtedly taken a look at it personally, and would have undoubtedly myself have considered the question as to whether or not Lord Janner should be charged, and I very much regret that that didn’t happen.”
And as for now:
The decision on whether or not Lord Janner should now face charges was “reasonably finely balanced”, he said, adding: “I think you could justify a decision going either way frankly.”
The Express says that without trial, the stink lingers:
Writing in the Sunday Express, Peter Saunders, the chief executive of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, said the 86-year-old was saved because “too many abusers walk the corridors of power”.
To which anyone in a free and fair society should say: ‘Prove it.’
What’s unuaul about this case is that Janner isn’t dead. Sir Jimmy Savile and Sir Cyril Smith’s guilt has been only established after their deaths. No need for a trial. No need for defence. No need for prosection to hurdle barriers to justice. Wait for them to die and bury them.
Jay Rayner brings up the bodies:
In 1991, Janner consulted solicitor David Napley and the barrister George Carman, both now deceased. According to a source with knowledge of that meeting, Carman was astounded, based on what Janner had told him, that he was not later charged.
Dead. Dead. Very ill. Justice has been denied.
And we’re left to wonder that if investigative journalism is unable to expose the wrong because the elite won’t allow it, who will?