Detectives continue investigation into Labour peer despite claims of ‘severe dementia’
By David Hencke and Mark Conrad | 8 December 2014
The police investigation had come to a halt in the summer after it was claimed that Janner was suffering from severe dementia and so was too ill to face any prosecution.
But two sources close to the investigation have told Exaro that it has re-started. Officers from Leicestershire Police are re-interviewing witnesses who claim to have been sexually abused as boys by Janner.
Leicestershire Police is leading the investigation, under ‘Operation Enamel’, with assistance from detectives from the Metropolitan Police Service’s paedophile unit.
One police source told Exaro that detectives were determined to continue with the case so that they could not be accused of failing to investigate the allegations robustly.
Senior officers believe that they must take forward evidence for prosecution, reject the allegations, or see “clear and independent medical evidence” that Janner would be unfit to stand trial.
Exaro revealed on Twitter in December last year that police had raided Janner’s home in Barnet, London. Police raided his office in the House of Lords in March. They obtained a warrant from a crown court judge, and carried out the search in front of senior officials from the House of Lords.
In April, police passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for advice. But, as Exaro revealed, again on Twitter, police were not seeking authorisation for any charges.
The police were understood to have wanted advice about whether they could arrest Janner despite the claim that the 86-year-old peer was too ill.
The CPS has advised the police to continue their investigation so that it can decide whether charges are warranted. If Janner’s lawyers claim that he is too ill to face trial, prosecutors would insist on an independent medical assessment, and would potentially leave it for a court to decide whether he is fit enough.
A spokeswoman for Leicestershire Police would only say: “Operation Enamel is still an active investigation, and enquiries are still very much ongoing.”
Janner, who represented Leicester as an MP for 27 years, has always denied the allegations.
One of his long-time friends told Exaro that he did not believe the allegations against Janner and was surprised that police were pursuing him again.
No family or friends have publicly commented on the allegations since the police raids. His lawyer, Jae Carwardine, last commented in December, issuing a statement that said: “Lord Janner has not been arrested, but has been assisting the police with their inquiries.”
She did not return calls from Exaro since Friday.
In 1991, during the trial of Frank Beck, a warden for children’s homes in Leicestershire, Greville Janner, as he then was, was named as having engaged in a sexual relationship with a teenage boy. The boy was said to have been living at one of Beck’s care homes.
Beck was suspected of abusing around 200 children in his care between 1973 and 1986. He was given five life sentences, plus 24 years, after being found guilty of 17 counts of sexual abuse of children in his care. He died in prison in 1994.
Two prosecution witnesses and two others for the defence, including Beck, made allegations about Janner and the teenage boy.
Janner was not a witness at the trial. After the case finished, he made a personal statement in Parliament that there was “not a shred of truth” in the claims.
The statement was met with warm applause in the House or Commons and praise from Labour allies such as Keith Vaz, another MP who represented a Leicester seat. Vaz, still a Leicester MP, described Janner as “a brave man”.
Derek Foster, Labour whip, passed on “tremendous support” from the party’s leader, Neil Kinnock.
Janner, a barrister and QC who was called to the Bar in 1955, became a Labour peer in 1997. He was president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews between 1979 and 1985.
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