Lord Janner will face trial over allegations of hsitorical sex abuse after a review by an independent QC overturned the decision by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that he would not be charged because of his severe form of dementia.
Janner, 86, denies any wrongdoing and his family claims he is “entirely innocent”, but the previous decision by the CPS not to charge him was met with calls of a cover up about child abuse within the political establishment.
The decision was reviewed under the CPS Victims’ Right to Review Scheme, which allows people to have the merits of prosecution for their case re-evaluated.
David Perry QC was instructed to review the case and provide advice to inform the CPS review of the decision.
The review concluded that it was in the public interest to bring proceedings before the court, but agreed that Janner will inevitably be found unfit to plead and therefore not fit to instruct his legal team and not fit to challenge or give evidence in a trial. Therefore the most likely outcome of a “trial of the facts” would be an absolute discharge, which is neither punishment nor conviction.
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Alison Saunders said:
“The Victims’ Right to Review scheme has brought a much needed voice for victims of crime and this review shows that any decision can be reversed, no matter who has made it. It is a scheme I helped to bring in and it is a process I fully support and am not above. I requested a non-CPS lawyer to advise on this case so that the review would be seen as fully independent. That was the right thing to do, and was a decision I made in the interests of fairness and maintaining public confidence in the criminal justice system.
“I have always said that in my view this was an extremely difficult and borderline case because of the strong arguments on both sides. I have also always emphasised my concern for the complainants in this case. I understood their need to be heard, which is why I contacted Justice Goddard to ensure that they could give evidence as part of the public inquiry. However, the review has concluded that this forum, albeit a public one, cannot substitute for the adjudication of the courts. I accept the outcome of the review and will now be bringing this prosecution to allow for that adjudication to happen.”