Lord Janner: Official Secrets mean only the dead can talk
Lord Greville Janner: a round-up of media reporting on the Labour peer mired in the story of Westminster peados.
Mail on Sunday: “Let’s hear Janner facts”
Now that the Crown Prosecution Service has admitted that Lord Janner could have been charged with serious sexual offences when he was fit to plead, calls for him to face a special hearing of the case against him in open court are, rightly, increasing.
He could have faced a trial if he had been ordered to years ago – back when historical sex abuse was not the hot story it is today. But he wasn’t. And coulds and ifs are not facts.
Peter Wanless, the head of the NSPCC, has added his powerful voice to the clamour for the allegations to be considered at a ‘trial of facts’ in which his accusers would be heard, though he would not need to take part, or face the risk of conviction.
A trial of the facts is not always relevant.
As Mr Wanless argues, such a hearing (designed for such awkward cases) would have given the alleged victims of the Labour peer the chance to give evidence and to have that evidence considered by an impartial jury. He believes that failure to hold such a tribunal will discourage other alleged victims from coming forward in future.
Is it posisble to find an impartial jury? This is what the Sun has reported:
Does that make you view Lord Janner with a balanced eye?
The Mail adds:
It may or may not be too late for the Director of Public Prosecutions to take this route in the Janner case. But it must certainly do so in any future controversies of this kind.
From trawling the past to make today appear moral and true, we are now peering into the rosy-fingered dawn.
Sunday Express: “New calls to allow Janner ‘victims’ their day in court”
Former Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer suggested the special hearing, known as a trial of facts, could test the allegations in Lord Janner’s absence.
Why when Falconer was in power didn’t we have such a trial?
Lord Janner, who has dementia, has been ruled unfit to stand trial to answer 22 charges of child sexual abuse. Lord Falconer told BBC’s Today programme: “If it had been decided that he was unfit to plead, there is a procedure that allows for the facts to be heard and a view by a court to be formed as to whether or not the offences occurred.
“I can think of nothing more awful, if I was genuinely a victim, and I don’t know whether or not these are genuine victims or not, that I wasn’t given an opportunity for my case to be heard and if the court took the view it was true, my views to be validated.”
Why now? Why are voices in the elite so keen for Janner to be in the frame now that he’s ill but had not much to say when he was well? They’re queuing up to champion justice for people who, allegedly, complained to the authorities decades ago.
Lord Falconer said Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, was wrong to spare 86-year-old Lord Janner from standing trial.
Hurrah for Falconer the good (retired). Boo for Saunders the bad (working).
We then hear from another top legal mind:
Mr Llwyd, who is a member of the Privy Council, which advises the monarchy on political matters, believes the former Leicester West MP is being protected by an establishment cover-up with “Cyril Smith overtones”.
“I strongly believe a proper judge-led inquiry is needed.”
It’s inquiry upon inquiry. Let’s have an inquiry is the default position.
Why did we go to war in Iraq on a lie? Let’s have in Inquiry!
Why did WMD expert David Kelly die? Let’s have in Inquiry
Why do journalists blag and cheat to get to the facts? Let’s have an Inqury!
Next time you’re arrested for, say, parking badly, robbing a house or bombing a foreign country don’t plead innocent or guilty, just demand a public inquiry. With any luck you’ll be dead and your cash intact by the time the thing has finished.
“He has been at the centre of child abuse allegations for more than 20 years but, conveniently, nothing has ever stuck. It’s all very murky and I do believe some sort of cover-up is at work here. There are Cyril Smith overtones, in that it all seems to be coming out when it’s too late.”
Cyril Smith is dead. It was only after he stopped breathing that everyone was able to say what a prolific child abuser he had been. If you want to find out the truth, find out what happened over the past 20 years when Janner was well.
The Express adds:
Police investigated Lord Janner in 2002 but documents relating to the peer were not passed on to the CPS. Another probe in 2007 was abandoned.
Lord Janner was first named as a paedophile during the 1991 trial of former Leicester care home boss Frank Beck, who was jailed for sexually and physically abusing more than 100 children during the 1970s and 1980s.
Lord Janner denies any wrongdoing.
“A senior detective who investigated child abuse allegations against Labour politician Greville Janner has revealed he was ordered to drop the case ‘from the very top’ – despite uncovering compelling evidence to charge him.
Is he still a senior detective? No.
Breaking a 24-year silence over the scandal, former Detective Inspector Kelvyn Ashby told The Mail on Sunday that during an investigation lasting several months in 1991, he found vital clues that backed up claims that Janner had molested a teenage boy at his marital home and a hotel. Last night the retired policeman spoke of his anger after being ordered not to arrest Janner because he was an MP.
Mr Ashby said: ‘I felt we had done a good job. I felt we had enough to arrest him but we didn’t because he was an MP. I think we should have done. I was gutted that we didn’t.’
Why now? Why say it now when you are no longer in the Force?
‘I’m only speaking now because the police investigation has stalled. Also, I have to think about the victims and I feel they have been let down.’
And you wonder why we need a free press?
Jay Rayner wonders in the Guardian:
…Last week in the Observer, I described how my 1991 investigations into allegations of child sex abuse by the former Leicester MP Greville, now Lord, Janner, were brought to a halt by supportive statements in the Commons from MPs. Key among them was that by Vaz, who said that his close colleague had been “the victim of a cowardly and wicked attack”.
When news first broke on 16 April that Janner would not stand trial on 22 counts of child abuse because of his dementia, I asked Vaz via Twitter whether he would care to comment about his support for Janner. He first reacted by blocking me. He unblocked me, but didn’t respond…
The most generous analysis is that Vaz is making a blunt political calculation in the midst of an election: he just has to tough it out. The problem is that the longer he fails to address the issues fully, the more complicit he seems in a passive establishment effort to help Janner to avoid facing charges in court.
Vaz, like Alison Saunders, look like soft targets. If, as is alleged, Janner evaded justice for 20 years, you need to look harder as to why and how.
The Times: “Judge reviewing Janner case was friend of peer’s barrister”
The retired judge reviewing past mistakes that prevented Lord Janner being brought to trial was a close friend of the leading barrister hired to defend the Labour peer against abuse claims.
Sir Richard Henriques regarded the late George Carman, QC, to whom Lord Janner turned when he was first investigated for sex crimes in 1991, as a friend and mentor at the Bar. Mr Carman also represented Jimmy Savile when he threatened newspapers with libel action over child abuse claims.
The director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders, who has ruled that Lord Janner of Braunstone, QC, is too unwell with dementia to face trial, insisted last night that the past friendship would have no influence on Sir Richard’s conduct of a review into previous failures to prosecute the peer.
Carmen is dead. Savile is dead.
The Sunday Times: “Prosecutors pass buck on Janner”
THE row over Lord Janner and child sex abuse allegations took another twist yesterday when the three lawyers who were in charge of a regional Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) office that decided not to put him on trial all denied responsibility.
Janet Meek, Martin Howard and Kate Carty all briefly led the CPS Leicestershire division in 2007, the year it decided not to prosecute the former Labour MP although the police had enough evidence to do so…
The file on the peer should have been passed to Lord Macdonald, the DPP in 2007, but it has emerged that the decision was taken locally by the CPS office in Leicestershire.
The three former chief crown prosecutors who led the Leicestershire division that year each denied responsibility when contacted by The Sunday Times.
Janner was able to sign a letter to the Lords last OctoberJanner was able to sign a letter to the Lords last October Carty said: “I have no knowledge of it . . . I am not able to comment further.” Howard was “aware” of an investigation into Janner, but claimed that the “police never spoke to me about it, or referred anything direct to me”.
Meek — who was appointed an MBE in 2005 — said the “decision not to prosecute was not taken by me”, but refused to discuss the case, saying she had signed the Official Secrets Act. She also said she had been “told by headquarters” that she “cannot say anything”.
Her mention of the Official Secrets Act triggered fresh claims of a “cover-up”. The archaic law, dating from 1911, has been reportedly used to prevent police officers from revealing their knowledge of an alleged VIP paedophile ring operating in Westminster.
Such are the facts…