Child sex abuse : Why Goddard must put the Lord Janner decision at the heart of her inquiry

Lord Janner Image courtesy BBC

Lord Janner
Image courtesy BBC

I was expecting Lord Janner, the former Labour peer, to become the first prominent person to face charges for child sex abuse as a result of a plethora of current police investigations across the United Kingdom. It was quite clear from the attitude of both the Met Police and Leicestershire Police ( and it now appears Northamptonshire as well) that they had uncovered serious allegations against him dating back decades.

So in one sense it was not a surprise that the Crown Prosecution Service statement says that the Labour peer faced numerous charges.

They were following Operation Enamel ( the Leicestershire Police investigation) enough for the CPS to say “the evidential test was passed on the basis that the evidence is sufficient to have warranted charging and prosecuting Lord Janner in relation to the particular charges listed below; these relate to nine individuals:

  • 14 indecent assaults on a male under 16 between 1969 and 1988
  • 2 indecent assaults between 1984 and 1988
  • 4 counts of buggery of a male under 16 between 1972 and 1987
  • 2 counts of buggery between 1977 and 1988.

One of the victims has issued a statement through Leicestershire police. So the decision after four separate medical reports not to prosecute Lord Janner because he has Alzheimer’s Disease and is unfit to plead is devastating for all the survivors of the alleged abuse who will not be able to testify. It also must thoroughly frustrating for Leicestershire Police , who are understandably furious about the decision, after conducting such a thorough and forensic inquiry. It appears in the CPS’s view to have been done too late. There is a full report by my colleagues on the Exaro site.

At the moment we are left with an impasse over a high-profile  and contentious figure. His family can forever say he is innocent of all charges because it will not be tested in a trial. His victims and survivors can claim he is guilty and yet another member of the Establishment to escape justice for hideous crimes.

To make it worse both views are irreconcilable even among people who worked with him. Before this decision I had talked to two people who had closely worked with Lord Janner. One,a journalist, was utterly convinced that he was innocent and could not believe he would  do such a thing. Another,a politician, was highly suspicious about his behaviour with young men ( though he had never been propositioned himself).

New Zealand dame Justice Lowell Goddard pic credit: http://www.teara.govt.nz/

New Zealand dame Justice Lowell Goddard pic credit: http://www.teara.govt.nz/

If the CPS decision cannot be challenged it seems to me the only way for survivors to receive any form of justice is for Lady Goddard to step in and make this a central plank of her judicial inquiry. It has all the messy ingredients of the  current historical child sexual abuse scandal – missed opportunities, failed previous police investigations, a failure by the Crown Prosecution Service itself, and the convenient death or terminal illness of alleged perpetrators just when justice beckons.  A different scandal,involving Grafton Close children’s home in Richmond  the death of  the council’s former children’s home deputy manager,John Stingemore , just before his trial for child sexual abuse at Southwark Crown Court earlier this year, echoes Janner.. Again there were police failures, allegations were not followed up, and charges not made until years after the event.

Only a thorough examination of the entire documentation of the Janner saga and – as it is a judicial inquiry – testimony from people who people involved, including the survivors, social workers, the police, and for that matter Keith Vaz, the chair of the Commons home affairs select committee in the last session of Parliament- and a staunch defender of Janner in the past.

If Goddard fails to do this – it could also be taken up by the Independent People’s Tribunal- which is also now being set up and will provide an alternative voice to the official inquiry.

Justice has to be done and lessons learned. The biggest one involves any current allegations of child sex abuse – justice must not wait until the perpetrators are dead or terminally ill.

20 thoughts on “Child sex abuse : Why Goddard must put the Lord Janner decision at the heart of her inquiry

  1. Pingback: Child sex abuse : Why Goddard must put the Lord Janner verdict at the heart of her inquiry - Catholic Canada

  2. I thought the police were going to challenge this decision anyway

    And if justice goddard fails to deliver then her credibility and the whole enquiry will be in the bin

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  3. The Independent Peoples Tribunal is the only way that real justice can be found for the survivors. Just as with the Hillsborough panel they revealed the truth which has led to the present new inquests. No one from the judiciary with rare exceptions can ever enjoy the confidence of the people with allegations of members of the judiciary and other senior figures involved in the crimes and the cover up. If these people are not be prosecuted because they, dare I say it, conveniently die or develop dementia then who could blame survivors for naming them in the social media. Then you would have law suits for libel from the moneyed classes.
    It would be one way of getting them into court though. Someone could start a fighting fund to defend such attacks if any are forthcoming although I doubt if they are guilty they would take the risk of making the challenge with all the cracks in the dam forming all over the country.

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  4. “The United Kingdom Child Sex Abuse People’s Tribunal” – is that the same entity as the “Independent People’s Tribunal” you are referring to? Seeks to “complement the current initiative by the United Kingdom’s Independent Panel Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse” -?
    Sounds like an admirable endeavor! Goodness knows, the historic institutional abuse problem in the UK has been vast & deeply entrenched. Multiple panels would have to be available just to allow all the victimized persons to be heard, I would think, and the People’s panel might be the best place for victimized persons whose abusers are deceased, or unknown, or otherwise unprosecutable, to have their say.

    My interest in the subject was awoken in 1980, with the publication of Jonathan Gathorne Hardy’s “The Public School Phenomenon”, which of course focused on just one type of institution. It was very alarming to realize that problems of physical & sexual victimization had been going on for hundreds of years and were still taking place! Terrible, terrible tragedies.

    Of course, the problem of Inquires, Legislatures, police and judiciary making the “wrong” decisions isn’t going to stop after either or both panels have wrapped up. I assume there are already plans for a People’s Independent Investigations Service and a People’s Independent Vigilance Committee, to follow?

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  5. Decades ago in Canada, when the first prosecutions of orphanage abusers from “The Congregation of Christian Perverts” were taking place, there were tragedies. Some men, who had already been ‘waiting’ for resolution over several decades, took their own lives when “the course of Justice” failed to go their way. DON’T BE ONE OF THOSE !
    Try not to put all of your eggs in the prosecutorial basket, telling yourself that once you have ‘acheived justice’ you will finally be at peace. For so many reasons, that day will never come for many! Do whatever you can to make peace with your experiences – right now, today.

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    • Amazing to see Home Secretary and Justice Goddard listed as ” defendants ”

      Haha Judge and senior cabinet minister in the dock
      Oh wait. That’s ironic considering all the VIP paedos isn’t it

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    • ou can’t help.noticing a sense of irony of seeing a Home Sectretary and a Judge appearing in the dock over child sex abuse cases. Can you?

      Weird huh?

      Hope there will be many more to come
      I bet May will be sitting on this trying to keep it quiet because it will make her look bad and during election campaigns too. They should not hide that stuff
      Oh wait.

      Home Sec legal stuff and in the dock and possible cover up

      Why does that all seem familiar now?

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    • Justice Goddard seemed to infer with her ” survivors lack objectivity ” that survivors were just out for “revenge” which I thought was disgraceful. It also makes it look like a they are part of a “witch hunt ” too
      Oh wait where have we heard that before? Let’s see. MSM establishment narrative. ” paedo panic ” ” it’s a witch hunt ” yep same old disinfo tactic

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