Investigation into responses to child abuse claims face collapseFebruary 20, 2020
Investigation into government and police responses to child abuse claims against the late Lord Janner faces collapse after his accuser ‘wishes to remain anonymous’
- Complainant against Lord Janner has asked to give his evidence anonymously
- Labour peer died in 2015 before CPS decided it was not in the public interest to prosecute him
- Lawyers representing alleged victims claim move will cause trauma and distress
An inquiry into how institutions handled child abuse allegations against the late Lord Janner could be halted after an accuser decided to remain anonymous.
An Independent Inquiry Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) was today having to consider ending investigations despite being in the works since 2013.
Lawyers representing alleged victims claim the move would cause ‘trauma and distress.’
However, the panel could go ahead with the investigation but hold many of the hearings in private, away from public scrutiny.
Labour peer Lord Greville Janner died in 2015 before CPS decided it was not in the public interest to prosecute him
Former Labour MP Lord Greville Janner was first made the subject of abuse allegations in 1991, with alleged abuse dating back to at least 1955.
In 2015 it was decided that he should have been prosecuted earlier, But was deemed too ill, suffering from dementia, to face a trail for 22 sexual offence charges set for 2016. He died in December 2015.
Lord Janner was one of the names mentioned in false claims of a VIP paedophile ring made by Carl Beech, also known as Nick.
Beeck’s so-called VIP paedophile ring included Mr Proctor and Labour MP Greville Janner, the former Home Secretary Leon Brittan, the former Prime Minister Edward Heath, the former Chief of the Defence Staff Lord Bramall, the former Director of the Secret Intelligence Service Maurice Oldfield, and the former Director-General of MI5 Michael Hanley.
Beech was jailed last July for 18 years for offences including perverting the course of justice.
Lawyer Chris Jacobs, who is representing the complainants who are referred to as ‘core participants’, said: ‘Our core participants have been involved in this process for a number of years and are entitled to a legitimate expectation that the investigation will proceed.
‘Aside from the trauma and distress that such a decision would visit on my clients, the waste of already expended funds would be disproportionate.
‘The waste of public funds in stopping their process now would be substantial and disproportionate.’
Lord Janner was one of the names mentioned in false claims of a VIP paedophile ring made by Carl Beech, also known as Nick (pictured)
Lawyer Nick Stanage, representing 14 complainants, said: ‘There were apparent failures in institutional responses for decades, those apparent failures deprived our clients and all the complainants of three things; dignity, justice, and redress.
‘These three things are now only available from this inquiry. If not now, when?’
Brian Altman QC, a lawyer working for the inquiry, said: ‘An individual who has made complaints of child sexual abuse against Lord Janner has informed us that they wish to assert their full right to anonymity.
‘This decision will have a major impact on how much of any hearings in this Investigation can take place in public.
‘The reason for this is that the Sexual Offences Act 1992, makes it a criminal offence to put into the public domain ‘any matter’ that ‘is likely to lead members of the public to identify’ someone as a complainant of child abuse.’
Explaining the options, he said: ‘First, proceeding with a hearing on what we suggest are the central issues of this Investigation – the response of the police and the CPS to the allegations against Lord Janner – but doing so in the knowledge that a very substantial part of it would have to be held in closed session.
‘That is to say, most of the hearings would not be in public.
‘Second, proceeding with public hearings on more peripheral issues which did not require closed hearings. Third, discontinuing the Investigation.’
He added: ‘We readily accept their arguments that the alternative, discontinuance, would have a devastating effect on some of their clients and would mean that important matters of public concern remain uninvestigated by this inquiry.’
Daniel Freidman QC is representing Lord Janner’s daughters Marion Janner and Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner.
He said: ‘Lord Janner was a law abiding person who was a wonderful loyal husband, father and grand-father, a devoted public servant with a proven track record of defending not only his constituents but people across the UK and around the work.
‘The inability to report on the evidence that lies at the heart of this case undermines its fairness and any investigations can only be advanced at a disproportionate case.
‘The reputations of not only Lord Janner but also retired and serving police officers, CPS staff, lawyers, and others are all being interfered with as is the grief and family name of his children in circumstances where the public interest in continuing is sorely diminished because there can be no public enquiry into the central allegations in the investigation.’
He added: ‘Core pieces of the evidence that would explain why investigative and charging decisions were made would be withheld from public scrutiny.’
The hearing panel has now adjourned the inquiry to a date yet to be confirmed when they will announce their decision.
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