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Independent inquiry into the handling of allegations made against Lord Greville Janner

19/01/2016

On Friday 15 January, Mr Justice Openshaw brought to an end criminal proceedings against Lord Greville Janner for child sexual offences, after the Central Criminal Court received formal evidence of his death.

The conclusion of criminal proceedings means that the findings of an independent inquiry into the handling of past allegations of sexual abuse by Lord Janner can now be published.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) commissioned the inquiry last year, when she stated that decisions not to prosecute following previous investigations into Lord Janner were wrong. Retired High Court Judge Sir Richard Henriques was asked to conduct a thorough and independent review into the CPS decision making and handling of all past allegations relating to the Lord Janner case and to make any recommendations he felt appropriate.

The independent inquiry found:

  • The decision not to charge Lord Janner in 1991 was wrong and there was enough evidence against him to provide a realistic prospect of conviction for offences of indecent assault and buggery. In addition, the police investigation was inadequate and no charging decision should have been taken by the CPS until the police had undertaken further enquiries.
  • In 2002, allegations against Lord Janner were not supplied by the police to the CPS and accordingly no prosecution was possible. This merits investigation by the IPCC.
  • There was sufficient evidence to prosecute Lord Janner in 2007 for indecent assault and buggery. He should have been arrested and interviewed and his home searched.

Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders said: "The inquiry's findings that mistakes were made confirms my view that failings in the past by prosecutors and police meant that proceedings were not brought. It is a matter of sincere regret that on three occasions, opportunities to put the allegations against Lord Janner before a jury were not taken.

"It is important that we understand the steps which led to these decisions not to prosecute, and ensure that no such mistakes can be made again.

"I have carefully considered the observations and conclusions made by Sir Richard Henriques. The inquiry acknowledged that the CPS has moved on hugely since these investigations and that current guidance and procedures would result in decisions that there was sufficient evidence to prosecute in all three cases considered in the report. However we are also acting on his recommendations to make further changes and improvements in the handling of such sensitive cases."

Significant changes have already been undertaken within the CPS which address many of the issues highlighted. In his report, Sir Richard Henriques says, "I have no doubt that with current guidance and procedures, a case management panel would conclude that there was a sufficiency of evidence in all three cases considered in this report."

However, he makes the following three specific recommendations for the further action by the CPS:

  • to consider whether time limits in charging decisions are appropriate;
  • to establish a protocol when referring cases from CPS area teams to Central Casework Divisions (CCDs), to ensure no decision is taken to end a case without referring back to CCDs; and
  • to establish a central log of cases referred and declined irrespective of whether a prosecution is to be commenced or not, with borderline cases included on the sensitive case list.

The CPS will implement these recommendations, and other issues identified by Sir Richard Henriques in his report. Measures are being introduced to ensure rape and serious sexual assault cases are dealt with swiftly. A full response to the findings is available on the CPS website.

CPS legal guidance on child sexual abuse was introduced in 2013, which recognises that prosecutors must focus on the credibility of the allegation, rather than focusing solely on the actions of the victim, and factors such as late reporting, inconsistent accounts and a victim 'voluntarily' returning to the alleged abuser should not then undermine the credibility of the victim's account. Rape and serious sexual offences are now dealt with by prosecutors specially trained in handling these cases, and a more rigorous Case Management Panel process means that prosecutors regularly meet to review such cases and decisions.

All case files and papers have now been handed to the Goddard Inquiry.

Notes

Timeline

  • January 2013: Operation Enamel initiated by Leicestershire Police
  • March 2015: Final case papers passed to the DPP for a charging decision in Operation Enamel
  • April 2015: The DPP announced the charging decision of No Further Action due to Lord Janner's advanced stage of dementia which would mean he would be found unfit to stand trial
  • May 2015: A number of victims asked for this decision to be reviewed as part of the Victims' Right of Review scheme
  • June 2015: The DPP announced that criminal proceedings would begin against Lord Janner
  • December 2015: Mr Justice Openshaw determined that Lord Janner was unfit to stand trial and a trial of the facts would take place
  • January 2016: Mr Justice Openshaw determined that due to the death of Lord Janner, proceedings would be stayed.

Terms of reference of the inquiry:

1. The Independent Inquiry will examine the three cases listed below and make findings in respect of the following matters:

a) Whether the approach and decision making of the CPS and counsel instructed was correct in relation to advising the police including but not limited to case building, the making of further enquiries and advice on charge and sufficiency of evidence.

b) Whether the CPS followed all relevant guidance and policy

c) Whether the CPS arrangements in place for handling the case were adequate and properly followed

d) Any other matters that the Inquiry considers would be relevant in preventing recurrence.

2. The Independent Inquiry will also make such recommendations it feels appropriate in light of the examination and findings set out above, including, if appropriate, recommendations about CPS policy and/or guidance and CPS arrangements for handling allegations involving high profile or political figures.

3. The Independent Inquiry has been established by, and will report its findings and recommendations to, the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The three cases

  1. 1. Allegations by an individual who featured in the trial of Frank Beck in 1991. The CPS considered the evidence and advised police that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute. The police took no further action.
  2. Operation Magnolia in 2002. Allegations were referred to the CPS but apparently not the allegations relating to Lord Janner. Police decided that no further action should be taken against Lord Janner, and the CPS decided that no further action should be taken against any other individual.
  3. Operation Dauntless in 2006. Allegations of offending by three individuals including Lord Janner. The CPS decided there was insufficient evidence to prosecute in 2007.

Further note:

The CPS's function is not to decide whether a person is guilty of a criminal offence, but to make fair, independent and objective assessments about whether it is appropriate to present charges for the criminal court to consider. The CPS assessment of any case is not in any sense a finding of, or implication of, any guilt or criminal conduct. It is not a finding of fact, which can only be made by a court, but rather an assessment of what it might be possible to prove to a court, in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. Read the Henriques report: http://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/reports/henriques_report_190116.pdf
  2. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  3. For the latest in breaking news from the CPS Press Office follow @cpsuk and visit our official News Brief - blog.cps.gov.uk
  4. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are three national casework divisions: Specialist Fraud (formerly Central Fraud and Welfare, Rural & Health Divisions), Special Crime & Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime. CPS Direct is a 'virtual' 14th Area which provides charging decisions to all police forces and other investigators across England and Wales - it operates twenty-four hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
  5. At 31 March 2015 we employed a workforce of approximately 5,895 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2,255 prosecutors and 3,288 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website: www.cps.gov.uk.
  6. The CPS, together with police representatives (formerly ACPO) and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.