Lord Janner: getting away with murder
Westminster paedos: a look at the reporting on allegations VIPs abused children and got away with it in the 1960s-1980s. All eyes are on Greville Janner, the Labour peer who denies any wrongdoing.
The Daily Express (page 11): “‘Doubt’ over the dementia of peer let off child sex charges”
How far gone is Lord Greville Janner? How ill is too ill?
OUTRAGE over the failure to prosecute alleged paedophile peer Greville Janner grew yesterday after it emerged he wrote to the House of Lords a fortnight ago, despite claims he is suffering from dementia.
Those claims of dementia have been substantiated by at least four medical experts. They say the 86-year-old peer is too old to understand any trial of the facts. But this is interesting:
Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders also faced accusations of double standards and a “cover up” because several defendants with dementia have been jailed for sex crimes in recent years.
Lord Janner, 86, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2009 and took a formal leave of absence last October.
On April 9 this year he replied to a House of Lords query about his retirement with a personally signed letter asking to continue his break.
The fact the Labour peer was able to sign the statement cast doubts on the DPP’s decision not to charge him with 22 child sex offences due to the “severity” of his dementia.
Dealaing with those points in turn: if other dentaia sufferers have been put on the stand for their alleged crimes, then why not the good Lord? And is the ability to sign a letter proof that you could follow complex legal arguments? Surely not. Dementia is often characterised by anosognosia –the lack of awareness of one’s disease.
Accusations that the peer is being protected by the Establishment grew after it emerged at least 19 men with dementia have been convicted of child sex offences since 2010, including 10 in the past year.
We don’t know the details of those cases (we’ll look later). Comparing one patient to another is fraught with difficulty. And we’re not told how many dementia partients were deemed unfit to take the stand. But a quick look reveals a few cases:
In 2013, Hans Lipschis, 94, was not tried for his life as an alleged former SS guard at the Auschwitz Nazi death camp.
In 2011 a judge said John Hammond who killed his wife was unfit to stand trial.
In 2014, a farmer accused of murder was deemed to be unfit for trial.
Are sex crimes worse than murder?
The Express hears from Peter Saunders of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood:
“This letter is a clear blow to the lie that this man is suffering. If he understands something as important as taking leave from the British legislature then surely he is fit to stand trial. It stinks of an Establishment cover-up. There is unease that someone as influential and high profile as Lord Janner will not face trial when Joe Bloggs has.”
No. The ability to sign a letter is not proof of sound mental health. But what the officials said is lamentable. Hold you nose:
… the CPS judges that mistakes were made in the decision making at the time by both the Leicestershire police in 2002 and the CPS in 1991 and 2007. Lord Janner should have been prosecuted in relation to those complaints.
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 obvious and particular concern that such proceedings did not take place as a result of what the CPS now consider to be wrong decisions. In order to maintain public confidence in the administration of justice and to seek to learn appropriate lessons, the CPS has asked retired High Court Judge, Sir Richard Henriques, to conduct a thorough and independent review into the CPS decision making and handling of all past matters relating to this case; and to make whatever recommendations he considers appropriate. He has agreed to undertake this task.
As the past gets reviewed, the Express focuses on the now:
Page 12: “Janner case gets murkier”
“If he is too ill to stand trial he should have resigned from the Lords”
That seems a fair point. The Lord’s is no care home. It is a legislative body.
At present we are just taking the DPP’s word that he mentally unfit to stand trial despite evidence to the contrary
Is the Express suggesting some kind of public test, whereby Lord Janner could do a Q & A or undergo a series of cognitive tests, perhaps on Jeremy Kyle’s TV show? A letter is the Express‘ “evidence to the contrary”. But evidence to the fact comes from four medical experts. And what of those who know him? Are they all wrong?
Daily Mirror (Page 6): “Lord Janner: New child abuse ‘victims’ emerge”
Victims is in inverted commas. Nothing has been proven. The judiciary won’t allow it.
Leicestershire Police had already traced 25 potential victims during a two-year probe codenamed Operation Enamel. A force spokesman said: “A number of alleged victims have come forward to the Operation Enamel team following the announcement last week.”
Tom Pettifor turns to the Janner’s health:
Records show he claimed £2,500 for 15 House of Lords appearances in the month before a search of his home. In total, he attended on 138 days in 2013, but has not returned since December 18, 2013, a day after police completed a two-day search of his home.
And that letter:
It has been reported he wrote to Lords clerks earlier this month indicating he did not wish to step down as a serving peer.
John Mann, the Labour candidate contesting Bassetlaw, Notts said: “I don’t see how you can sign a document relating to membership of the House of Lords if you have dementia.”
The Mirror then adds:
He was diagnosed with dementia in 2009, and his condition is thought to have deteriorated since he became a suspect.
Or to put it a less laoded way: hid dementia has worsened with time. Is the Mirror just wafting the stink?
Daily Mail (Page 24): “”Dementia peer who’s too ill for sex abuse trial’ signed letter to Lords 12 days ago”
We hear once more from Pete Saunders: “…if he isn’t compos mentis, there’s no way he should be anywhere near our legislature.”
The Mail Online has examples of people with dementia who were tried for alleged sex crimes. But are their cases like the allegations made against Lord Janner?
Last summer Stephen Turner, who has bipolar disorder and fronto-temporal dementia, which leads to changes in personality, was found unfit to stand trial but found to have carried out a number of child sex offences.
He had performed a sex act on himself in front of children in a theme park three months after police found a cache of child porn on his computer, and was sentenced to a hospital order.
The Stoke Sentinnel has the facts.
Prosecutor John Butterfield QC said Turner was a patient at Florence House, a mental health hospital in Porthill, when on March 18 last year staff took him his to his old address in Hilton Road, Stoke, so he could collect some personal belongings. But a social worker spotted he was packing pornographic material. When they returned to Florence House Turner’s case was locked in an office. It was found to contain adult and child pornography in magazines and photo albums.
Police searched the defendant’s room and found more illegal images. In total they recovered 163 images at level one; 83 at level two; 32 at level three and 118 at level four. Turner made no comment to all questions put to him in his police interview.
He remained a resident at Florence House and on June 27 he was treated to a day out at Trentham Gardens. At 11am he went to the toilet at the same time as a group of 13-year-old boys on a school trip.
Mr Butterfield QC said: “Two boys saw the defendant moving from urinal to urinal. He then turned and performed a sex act on himself. One boy noted he was walking towards them as he did that.”
He was bang to rights. He was a clear and present danger to the public. The DPP says Lord Janner offers no threat.
Last March a former director of the Ulster Museum in Belfast, John Nolan, was convicted of abusing a little girl but given a suspended sentence. His defence QC told the judge that sending his client to prison ‘would be a death sentence and Judge Piers Grant agreed that although his offending deserved a prison sentence he would ‘exercise considerable mercy’.
The Belfast Telegraph:
Judge Grant told the court he was satisfied, given the historical nature of the offences and Nolan’s clear record, that he was not a “sexual predator”. He said that given those factors, his age and ill-health, Nolan did not pose a significant risk of harm to the public by reoffending.
As well as the suspended jail term, the judge ordered Nolan to sign the police sex offenders’ register for 10 years and imposed a Sexual Offences Prevention Order.
In February 2014 David Massingham was deemed unfit to stand trial back in February because of his memory loss and confused state. But a jury at Teesside Crown Court still heard his case and convicted him of ten indecent assaults and an offence of a serious sexual assault committed more than 30 years ago. He was also detained in a hospital.
David Massingham, 77, who has dementia, was detained under the Mental Health Act as a judge said he was still a risk to children
In 2012 Gerald Longman, now 81, was spared jail despite sexually and physically abusing his daughters, who waived their anonymity to say they wished he was dead. Longman was given an absolute discharge at Taunton Crown Court as he had been deemed unfit to stand trial due to dementia – but a jury listened to the facts and ruled he had committed the crimes.
This case seems more relevant:
Even though Longman was declared ‘unfit to stand trial’ due to his dementia, a jury listened to the facts and ruled he had committed the crimes.
They deemed him guilty of four indecent assaults, two rapes and inciting a girl under 14 to carry out an indecent act.
Judge Graham Hume Jones said his hands were tied and that he was unable to impose a tougher sentence The judge said: “It’s most unfortunate there’s nothing I can do in the circumstances. I have no doubt that all those who are listening to this case will keep a very close eye on the defendant in the future.”
Based on their knowledge of their father’s health, they are sceptical of claims by Longman, who committed his crimes when the family lived in Wellington, Somerset, that he was so affected by dementia that he was unfit to stand trial and therefore may avoid prison.
Let’s look once more at the official decision not to presecute Janner:
The medical evidence establishes both that there is no current risk of re-offending identified and that there is no likelihood of the defendant recovering from his medical condition (and thus that there is no future risk of reoffending either). Balancing these factors with those in favour of prosecution, the balance is that there is not a public interest in commencing criminal proceedings in this case.
Lastly, the Daily Telegraph looks at Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, who “spent almost £7,000 of taxpayers’ money on business class flights around the world while the Crown Prosecution Service headed towards crisis over Greville Janner and doomed trials of journalists.
Ms Saunders, who is paid £200,000 a year, flew business class to New York, Washington, Dubai and the Caribbean, and also jetted to Madrid, Rome and The Hague for publicly-funded trips while the CPS spent a year contemplating whether to prosecute Lord Janner…
We’re told that one taxi ride seh took was billed at £102.
A spokesman for the CPS said the DPP was allowed to charge business class fares for long haul flights when she was required to work immediately after landing. The CPS said staff were allowed to take taxis in certain circumstances, such as when heavy luggage or large quantities of papers had to be transported. The spokesman added: “Crime is international and so is the work of the DPP in combatting it. The DPP’s travel overseas helps the CPS to join forces with other countries so we can reduce serious crime both in the UK and around the world.”
Lord Janner maintains his innocence.
Such are the facts…