The head of the government’s child sex abuse inquiry has addressed public concern surrounding the decision not to bring charges against Lord Janner of Braunstone.
Head of the Crown Prosecution Service Alison Saunders defended her ruling last week that Janner would not be charged with 22 offences between 1969 and 1988 involving nine children and young people due to his dementia.
Justice Lowell Goddard, the senior New Zealand judge hired to oversee the inquiry, has already announced that she would investigate circumstances surrounding the public figure who is still alive.
Justice Goddard said: “The depth of public concern surrounding the Janner case exemplifies the need for a thorough and wholly independent investigation into the adequacy of institutional responses to child sexual abuse, particularly where persons in positions of influence are alleged to have abused children in institutional settings and have, for one reason or another, escaped prosecution over a number of years.”
Evidence will be heard from Lord Janner’s alleged victims, along with institutions such as care homes, Leicestershire police, local authorities and the Home Office.
Experts in the field are alerted to the fact that bids for compensation by the alleged victims could potentially be affected and suggested a “fact finding” trial should be held in lieu of a full criminal hearing.
Molly Frost, a solicitor in the child abuse claims department at Jordans, said: “The initial decision not to prosecute has evidently been extremely upsetting for those who have had the courage to come forward. If allegations against Janner had been properly investigated years ago this unsatisfactory situation could have been avoided. We fully support the complainants who have formally requested that the CPS decision be reviewed”