CPS review overturns refusal by Alison Saunders to prosecute former MP on 22 counts
By Tim Wood and Mark Watts | 29 June 2015
Director of public prosecutions Alison Saunders was today forced to overturn her refusal to prosecute former Labour MP Lord Janner for child sex abuse.
Janner will be prosecuted on 22 counts of child sex abuse against nine boys following a review of the initial decision by Saunders not to charge him on grounds of ill health.
He has always denied the allegations.
As the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced that the decision had been reversed, Saunders was under mounting pressure to quit over the affair.
She said in a statement today: “I have always said that in my view this was an extremely difficult and borderline case because of the strong arguments on both sides.”
Asked when Saunders had previously described the Janner decision as “borderline”, a CPS spokeswoman was unable to point to any occasion by the time of publication.
Six of the complainants against Janner requested a review of the original decision.
The DPP commissioned a non-CPS barrister, David Perry, to carry out the review. She undertook to abide by his advice, stressing the point in an interview only last week.
The CPS said in a statement this morning: “The review concluded that it was in the public interest to bring proceedings before the court.
“In reaching that conclusion, the review agreed that although there is sufficient evidence to prosecute, it is right to assume that Greville Janner will inevitably be found unfit to plead.”
The expectation, therefore, is that the case will proceed to a “trial of the facts”.
The review said that the inquiry into child sex abuse, to which Saunders had referred the case, “cannot substitute for the adjudication of the courts.”
She added: “I accept the outcome of the review, and will now be bringing this prosecution to allow for that adjudication to happen.” The case is listed to be heard at Westminster magistrates’ court on August 7.
Janner is charged on seven counts of buggery and 15 counts of indecent assault.
The CPS today refused to release the Perry review. A spokesman told Exaro: “David Perry QC provided advice for the CPS’s review under the Victims’ Right to Review. Such advice is confidential.”
Meanwhile, the retired High Court judge, Sir Richard Henriques, has submitted a draft of his review of three past failures to prosecute Lord Janner, in 1991, 2002 and 2007.
The CPS statement today said: “It is now being finalised, but it is clear that it will confirm the DPP’s view that the CPS decisions in 1991 and 2007 were wrong as well as concluding that the handling of the case previously by both police and prosecutors was unsatisfactory.”
Exaro confirmed a leak of the outcome of the review over the weekend, even though the CPS falsely denied a report on it in Saturday’s Daily Mail. The CPS faces more questions over its attempt to “spin” stories that make uncomfortable reading for the troubled prosecuting body.
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