Police are furious with the Crown Prosecution Service for refusing to charge former Labour MP Lord Janner with multiple counts of child sex abuse.
Alison Saunders, director of public prosecutions (DPP), said in a detailed statement today that there was enough evidence to charge Janner on 22 counts, but that it was not in the public interest because he was suffering from severe dementia and not fit to stand trial.
She also said that Janner should have been prosecuted as a result of three previous police investigations.
Leicestershire Police, which led a two-year investigation into Janner, strongly disagrees with her decision that it is not in the public interest to prosecute Janner now.
Roger Bannister, assistant chief constable of Leicestershire Police, described the CPS decision as “the wrong one”.
Without expressly naming Janner, Bannister said in a statement: “There is credible evidence that this man carried out some of the most serious sexual crimes imaginable over three decades against children who were highly vulnerable and the majority of whom were in care.”
In the statement, Leicestershire Police said: “The investigation, codenamed ‘Operation Enamel’, traced 25 people who allege that they were sexually abused by the man who held a position of authority in Leicester.”
The statement shows that last November Leicestershire Police, after Janner’s representatives claimed that he was suffering from severe dementia and too ill to face any prosecution, submitted counsel opinion on why a prosecution was in the public interest.
Shortly afterwards, Exaro revealed that the police were determined to continue the Janner case despite the dementia claims.
The DPP is understood to have told Leicestershire Police last week of the CPS view that Janner should not be prosecuted.
The statement from Leicestershire Police said: “Last week, as a result of contact from the DPP, the chief constable submitted a further, detailed document to set out why he felt that it was firmly in the interests of the victims and the public to bring a prosecution.”
Bannister said that he was “extremely worried” about the impact of the CPS decision on those who alleged that Janner had sexually abused them. “More widely, I am worried about the message that this decision sends out to others, both past and present, who have suffered and are suffering sexual abuse.”
The DPP’s statement explained that the CPS had concluded that Janner should not be prosecuted “because of the severity of his dementia which means that he is not fit to take part in any proceedings, there is no treatment for his condition, and there is no current or future risk of offending.”
She said: “It is emphasised that, but for medical considerations, it would undoubtedly have been in the public interest to prosecute.”
Saunders went on to say that Janner has Alzheimer’s disease. Four medical experts have examined Janner, two instructed by his lawyers another two by the police and CPS.
“All four doctors were in general agreement as to the level of cognitive ability.”
Saunders also revealed that Janner was subject to three police investigations between 1991 and 2007.
The CPS decided that there was insufficient evidence to charge Janner as a result of two of the investigations, while the police did not submit a file to prosecutors on the third one.
On the three previous investigations, Saunders said: “The CPS also now considers that the evidential test was passed. It follows that 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.”
The CPS has asked a retired High Court judge, Sir Richard Henriques, to conduct a review of its handling of all the Janner cases.
Janner’s family issued a statement today to deny the allegations against him, describing him as “a man of great integrity and high repute with a long and unblemished record of public service”.
Exaro has run the statements of the DPP and Leicestershire Police in full below…
The decision not to prosecute Lord Janner – statement from the DPP
1. The CPS has concluded that Lord Greville Janner should not be prosecuted because of the severity of his dementia which means that he is not fit to take part in any proceedings, there is no treatment for his condition, and there is no current or future risk of offending.
The reasons for making a public statement in this case
2. The CPS has carefully considered whether it is appropriate to make a public statement in relation to this case, explaining the reasons for this decision and has decided that it is appropriate to do so. There has been considerable public interest, and media coverage, of the fact of the investigations including identifying Lord Janner as the subject of them. Indeed, concern has been expressed publicly of a ‘cover up’. The allegations that have been made against Lord Janner are extremely serious. Those who have made them are, entirely understandably, vociferous in urging the taking of action against Lord Janner. The reasons for the decision not to do so require explanation in some detail in order to be properly understood and to avoid the inevitable speculation that would follow were no explanation to be given. As appears below, this is not a straightforward case in which the conclusion is simply that the evidence does not warrant taking further action. Moreover, the CPS considers that some of the decisions made by both itself and by the police in relation to past investigations relating to Lord Janner were wrong. This statement is also necessary in order for it to be made clear what the role of the CPS is in making this decision, including in particular to emphasise that the CPS is in no sense deciding or implying that the allegations that have been made are established or that Lord Janner is guilty of any offence. For all of those reasons, it is right in this case that there should be a public explanation of the conclusions reached by the CPS.
The most recent and past investigations in relation to Lord Janner
3. Operation Enamel was initiated in January 2013. It was a thorough and comprehensive investigation by Leicestershire Police into allegations against Lord Greville Janner of non-recent sexual abuse. It included, as part of the investigation, a review by police of complaints against Lord Janner from three previous police investigations between 1991 and 2007. As part of those investigations Lord Janner was interviewed by police in 1991.
4. In relation to Operation Enamel, more than a dozen individuals made allegations to police that related to Lord Janner. Most of them were residents in Leicestershire children’s homes between 1970 and the mid- to late- 1980’s. The children and young people in this case were vulnerable and in a situation where they should have been looked after and protected. The allegations in this case are thus extremely serious, with a number of alleged victims and allegations of multiple offending over a lengthy period of time. The core allegation was that Lord Janner, in a position of authority and trust as the local MP for Leicester West at the time, befriended the manager of a children’s care home to allow him access to children in order to allow him to perpetrate serious sexual offences on children.
5. Evidence that related to 10 individuals was developed by the police and CPS to the fullest extent possible. The investigation included a search of Lord Janner’s home in December 2013, and the recovery of material from Lord Janner’s Millbank offices in March 2014. It also included an invitation for interview, but medical concerns were raised and an independent police neuropsychiatrist’s report meant that no interview took place. Material was still being passed to the CPS shortly before Easter 2015.
6. In relation to the three previous police investigations, the complaints and the decision-making by police and the CPS at the time were as follows:
a) A complaint of sexual assaults by one individual who featured in the trial of Frank Beck in 1991. The allegation, in essence, was one of grooming and sexual abuse of the alleged male victim between the ages of 13 and 15. The advice given at the time by the CPS was that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.
b) Complaints by one individual during ‘Operation Magnolia’ in 2002. Although Lord Janner was the subject of allegations during this Operation, which was an investigation into a relevant children’s home, it does not appear that specific allegations that related to him were referred to the CPS. It is apparent that the police decided that no further action should be taken against Lord Janner. The CPS decided at the time that no further action should be taken against any other individual.
c) In ‘Operation Dauntless’ in 2006, an individual made allegations of serious sexual offending around 1981 by three individuals, including Lord Janner. The CPS decision in 2007 was again that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.
The CPS’s functions in making the decisions it has
7. Before setting out the main conclusions that the CPS has reached on the available evidence, it is important to emphasise and to be clear about the CPS’s functions and the nature of this part of its decision-making.
8. The CPS considers cases on the basis of the evidence available at the time the charging decision is to be taken. It applies the well-known two-stage test set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors: the evidential test and the public-interest test.
9. The evidential test involves an assessment, on the then state of the evidence, by the CPS as to whether that evidence provides a realistic prospect of conviction. The CPS’s function is not to decide whether a person is guilty of a criminal offence, but to make fair, independent and objective assessments about whether it is appropriate to present charges for the criminal court to consider. The CPS assessment of any case is thus not in any sense a finding of, or implication of, any guilt or criminal conduct. It is not a finding of fact, which can only be made by a court, but rather an assessment of what it might be possible to prove to a court, in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, a copy of which is provided via the link below:
10. This assessment is based on the evidence available that arises out of the police investigation and not on the evidence that is likely to be gathered by the defence, and likely to be used to test the prosecution evidence. The CPS charging decision is therefore necessarily an assessment on the basis of the evidence that is available to the CPS at the time the decision is made. CPS prosecutors must also keep every case under review, so that they take account of any change in circumstances that occurs as the case develops, including what becomes known of the defence case. If appropriate, the CPS may change the charges or stop a case.
11. The public-interest test is considered if the evidential test is passed. All matters relevant to whether it is in the public interest to prosecute are considered.
The evidential test: the CPS’s main conclusions in relation to Operation Enamel and the past investigations
12. With that explanation of functions in mind, the CPS has reached the following conclusions in relation to the evidential test, as a result of the investigations and reviews undertaken in this case.
a) In relation to the allegations investigated in Operation Enamel, the CPS considers that the evidential test was passed on the basis that the evidence is sufficient to have warranted charging and prosecuting Lord Janner in relation to the particular charges listed below; these relate to nine individuals:
b) 14 indecent assaults on a male under 16 between 1969 and 1988
c) 2 indecent assaults between 1984 and 1988
d) 4 counts of buggery of a male under 16 between 1972 and 1987
e) 2 counts of buggery between 1977 and 1988.
f) In relation to the other three previous investigations, the CPS also now considers that the evidential test was passed. It follows that 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.
13. 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.
The public interest test and Lord Janner’s medical condition
14. The question that remains is whether there should be a prosecution of Lord Janner now. The second stage of the test already referred to is the public-interest test. The CPS’s conclusion, for the reasons that follow, is that it would not be in the public interest to launch criminal proceedings now.
15. At the outset, it is emphasised that but for medical considerations, it would undoubtedly have been in the public interest to prosecute. Public-interest factors in favour of a prosecution include that the allegations are of very serious offending; the complainants were young, vulnerable children and the allegations involve the alleged abuse of power and position. The CPS equally has no doubt that, if the correct decisions had been taken about the evidential test in relation to the previous investigations, the public-interest test would have been passed, and prosecution should have followed.
16. However, the public-interest test now has to be considered in the light of current facts. The key facts for that purpose relate to Lord Janner’s present medical condition. They are as follows.
17. In 2009, Lord Janner was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, which is the most common cause of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is a physical disease affecting the brain. Alzheimer’s is a progressivedisease, which means that gradually, over time, more parts of the brain are damaged. As this happens, the symptoms become more severe. There is no treatment or cure.
18. 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.
19. The CPS considers that in the light of the medical evidence Lord Janner would inevitably be found not fit to plead, not fit to instruct his legal team and not fit to challenge or give evidence in a trial. That means that a criminal trial, to determine whether or not he was guilty of any offence, could not now properly take place.
20. The CPS has considered with particular care whether it would nevertheless be appropriate to launch a fitness to plead process. In such a process, there is no determination of the criminal charge, no criminal verdict and no question of conviction or punishment. The powers of the court are “restricted to measures designed to treat, rehabilitate and support while, in the most serious cases, providing protection for the public” (Wells, Masud, Hone and Kail and R  EWCA Crim 2.)
21. There are thus some cases in which such a process may be appropriate in order for example to protect the public either by a hospital order or by a supervision order. However, in this case, the CPS judges that the outcome of such proceedings would not only be without conviction, but would also result in an absolute discharge. 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.
22. Lord Janner’s medical condition has been explained to all those individuals whose allegations have sufficient evidence to be tried in the criminal courts. Each of them has made it clear that they wish to tell their stories publicly. I sincerely hope that this can be achieved through the victims giving evidence before the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse. I have referred this to the inquiry team, which has confirmed that this case would be covered by the scope of the inquiry and that those who have made allegations in this case would be able to give evidence to the inquiry. They have offered to speak to the complainants to explain this.
23. The lack of a prosecution will be extremely disappointing to complainants. I have written to each of them, explaining the reasons for the decision, inviting them to a meeting with me so that I can explain any matters to them further, should they wish.
Leicestershire Police: force ‘disappointed’ by decision not to prosecute suspected child abuser
The decision not to prosecute a man suspected of sexually abusing vulnerable children who were resident in Leicestershire care homes in the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s has been criticised by Leicestershire Police.
The director of public prosecutions has today announced that, despite sufficient evidence gathered over two years, it would not be in the public interest to bring charges against the alleged offender who is now in his 80’s.
Assistant chief constable Roger Bannister of Leicestershire Police, who has overseen the investigation, said that he believed the decision was “the wrong one” and it would do little to support and encourage victims of sexual abuse to come forward.
He said: “Thanks primarily to the courage of 25 victims who have made a complaint and the complete professionalism of the investigation team, we have built a case that the DPP has acknowledged is the result of a thorough investigation, evidentially sufficient and gives rise to a realistic chance of conviction.
“There is credible evidence that this man carried out some of the most serious sexual crimes imaginable over three decades against children who were highly vulnerable and the majority of whom were in care.
“I am extremely worried about the impact the decision not to prosecute him will have on those people, and, more widely, I am worried about the message that this decision sends out to others, both past and present, who have suffered and are suffering sexual abuse.
“We are exploring what possible legal avenues there may be to challenge this decision, and victims themselves have a right to review under a CPS procedure.”
The investigation, codenamed Operation Enamel, traced 25 people who allege that they were sexually abused by the man who held a position of authority in Leicester. Legal reasons prevent the force from naming him.
During the course of the investigation, more than 2,000 individuals were seen and 442 statements taken. Detectives pursued more than 2,700 lines of enquiry, and seized/created nearly 600 exhibits including cine film and videos.
On July 24 last year, the senior investigating officer submitted a comprehensive file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service to seek advice as to a prosecution. In November, a further note was submitted to the CPS from lead counsel – a senior barrister, representing the investigation – specifically addressing why a prosecution was in the public interest.
In total, more than 6,000 pages of case-file material have been supplied to the CPS.
Last week, as a result of contact from the DPP, the chief constable submitted a further, detailed document to set out why he felt that it was firmly in the interests of the victims and the public to bring a prosecution.
ACC Bannister said: “Throughout this investigation, we and other partners have done everything we reasonably can to support the victims and to encourage them to explain what happened to them all those years ago. For the victims, this process has been traumatic, having to relive appalling events from their childhood which have scarred their adult lives. For some experienced investigators, it has been utterly harrowing listening to their accounts.
“Despite the decision of the DPP, our determination to seek justice for those who have been abused as children, particularly by those who have used their ‘status’ to facilitate such crimes, remains undeterred. This man is not the only individual being investigated by Operation Enamel and our determination to bring others to justice is undaunted. The circumstances of this decision are very specific and I would still urge other victims to come forward.”
Update 4.30pm: Leicestershire Police issued a further statement this afternoon on behalf of one of the 25 complainants. “The man has expressly requested that Leicestershire Police make his statement publicly available,” said the force.
The complainant described the CPS decision as “a disgrace”, and the statement quoted him as saying: “This animal is still being protected because [of his status] and isn’t able to stand trial. They say that it’s not in the public interest, but isn’t it in the public interest to know what his victims have gone through at the hands of this man?
“If he was an everyday person with a normal life and job, justice would [have] been served, but as it stands we victims are just being pushed to the ground again and walked over.
“Let someone feel the pain and suffering that I’ve endured and still going to endure for the rest of my life. It’s not a case of being found guilty or going to prison, it’s about being believed after so long being told that we were lying. Justice needs to be served.”
Related Stories : Child sex abuse, ‘Fernbridge’ and ‘Fairbank’: Exaro story thread