Lord Janner: DPP faces fresh doubts about medical evidence

CPS admits: “key findings” in DPP statement were not all agreed by four medical experts

By Tim Wood and Mark Conrad | 25 April 2015

Lord Janner: DPP faces fresh doubts about medical evidenceDirector of public prosecutions Alison Saunders faces more concerns about the medical evidence that underpins her decision not to prosecute Labour peer Lord Janner.

Exaro can reveal that the six “key findings” of the medical evidence, as summarised by the DPP in her statement just over a week ago, were not all agreed by the four experts who gave assessments for the case.

A spokeswoman for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) admitted that not all the experts agreed on all six points, saying that the findings were a combination of assessments by the four.

Challenged on whether the DPP’s statement is misleading, the spokeswoman said: “We are satisfied that it is absolutely fine and addresses the points clearly and as they are.”

While all four medical experts said that Janner was suffering from severe dementia, the spokeswoman suggested that only one of them was asked whether the former Labour MP might be faking the severity of the condition. That one expert, acting for the CPS, regarded it as “out of the question”.

Just a week before the announcement by Saunders, the House of Lords received a letter signed by Janner to request an extension to his leave of absence, raising questions about whether he is suffering dementia so seriously that he should not be put on trial.

In March last year, Janner transferred to his children ownership of his home, worth £2 million, in a gated community near Hampstead Heath, north London. He signed over the deeds three months after police raided his home as part of their investigation and the same month as they swooped on his office in the House of Lords.

Saunders announced that while Leicestershire Police had gathered enough evidence to charge Janner on 22 counts of sexually abusing nine boys, it was not in the public interest to prosecute because he had severe dementia. She said that he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2009.

In paragraph 18 her statement, she summarised the medical evidence. She wrote:

Four medical experts, all experienced and highly qualified, have examined Lord Janner – two instructed by his own legal team, two by the police and prosecutors. The most recent medical report is dated March 31, 2015. The key findings are as follows:

a)  Lord Janner is suffering from a degenerative dementia, which is rapidly becoming more severe. He requires continuous care both day and night.

b) His evidence could not be relied upon in court, and he could not have any meaningful engagement with the court process, and the court would find it impossible to proceed.

c) On the Mini Mental State examination, all four doctors were in general agreement as to the level of cognitive ability.

d) The condition will only deteriorate, there is no prospect of recovery.

e)  Manipulation (“putting it on”) is “out of the question”.

f)  There is no risk of future offending.

But when asked whether the four experts were all in agreement, the CPS spokeswoman said: “Yes. However, every single one of those points is not necessarily unanimous or addressed by all of them.

“So I think, for example, manipulation, I think, that was specifically asked of one of the ones instructed by the police and prosecutors. But, yes, certainly on the mental state examination, they were all- they were all in agreement.”

Simon Danczuk, who as an MP campaigned for the truth to be exposed about prominent paedophiles and who led a cross-party group of MPs/election candidates to call on the DPP to reverse her decision on Janner, told Exaro: “And now we hear that the medical experts were not unanimous in agreeing everything. All of this highlights why this bad decision should not have been made secretively behind closed doors, and why it urgently needs to be reviewed at the earliest opportunity.”

The beleaguered DPP replied to her critics last week by strongly defending herself. Saunders stressed the importance of the medical evidence in her decision, telling BBC2’s Newsnight. “What I took into account was four experts who all said, he had dementia, it was dementia that had accelerated very quickly,” she said.

Last week, Exaro revealed how Scotland Yard had for six months been investigating allegations that Janner was part of the ‘Westminster paedophile network’.

Related Stories : Child sex abuse, ‘Fernbridge’ and ‘Fairbank’: Exaro story thread

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