Daniel Janner is wrong to say all allegations of child sex abuse against his father must be fabricated

lord janner

Lord Janner Image courtesy BBC

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There is nothing more understandable than a son and a daughter wanting to clear their father’s name of serious unproven allegations after he is no longer here to defend himself.Particularly if the allegations concern such a heinous crime as child sex abuse.

And their father Greville  was a national figure with a huge reputation as a fighter for reparations for the victims of the Holocaust.

However  his son Daniel Janner, himself a prominent barrister, has gone over the top in deciding that the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse cannot examine the allegations against his father.

He told the BBC that all the claims  against the late Lord Janner by 33 people were fabricated, the police investigations into claims against his father were ” rubbish” and that the people concerned had colluded with each other to make false allegations.

For good measure he added that people were motivated by getting compensation and that he knew his father was totally innocent of all charges and had never been convicted of anything. He claimed the inquiry would be discrediting itself by looking into his father because the people making the claims would not be properly cross examined.by a barrister who would presumably accuse them all of being money grabbing liars.

daniel-janner-qc

Daniel Janner QC Pic credit: http://www.regulatorycriminallawyers.co.uk

Now Janner is a prominent criminal lawyer. If you look at his entry in the Birmingham based No 8 chambers here you will see he has formidable record.

As the entry says: “High profile cases include:The Heysel Stadium football extraditions; The Knightsbridge Safety Deposit box robbery; Oyston and Martin rape trials; French student murder trial; “Happy slap” murder trial; London City Bond fraud trial; Gouldbourne Cayman Islands murder; McGrath money laundering; Cleeve Prior missing body murder; Lord of Fraud, Rodley trials.”

He also has defended a former headmaster against allegations of historic child sex abuse.

Therefore it is rather surprising as a QC that he  has decided that his father is totally innocent given that the Crown Prosecution Service, while rejecting the need for trial just before his death on medical grounds, concluded in 2015 that  “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”.

A further independent investigation by Sir Richard Henriques into allegations against Janner concluded: ” I am satisfied that, in 1991, there was a sufficiency of evidence for a prosecution to be commenced against Janner for offences of indecent assault and buggery with Complainant 1.”

And ” Had the statement of Complainant 2 been forwarded to the CPS, there was, in my judgement, a sufficiency of evidence to commence a prosecution against Janner, in 2002, for indecent assault and buggery both with Complainant 1 and Complainant 2.”

and

” In my opinion there was sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction in 2007, and Janner should have been arrested and interviewed and his home searched.  He should have been charged with offences of indecent assault and buggery with Complainant 1, Complainant 2 and Complainant 3.”

Finally there is the investigation by the police watchdog into the failure of the police investigation into Janner. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it had served criminal and gross misconduct notices on 11 individuals in July.

Now if we are to believe Daniel Janner these respected bodies and Sir Richard have been taken in by lying child sex abuse survivors and must be (though I am sure he wouldn’t use such language ” a load of gullible twats.”

By saying that as Janner was not convicted of anything he shouldn’t be investigated by the Jay inquiry he also raises another question. Logically neither should Sir Cyril Smith nor Jimmy Savile be investigated because they can’t defend themselves and all allegations against them should be dismissed and forgotten. This puts him firmly in the camp of those who say really there is no such thing as any widespread child sex abuse and  an ideal advocate for the Justice for  Jimmy Savile  website which believes he is innocent.

I am aware the Janner allegations are highly controversial. Some like a former researcher  I interviewed who worked closely with Janner on Holocaust issues would 100 per cent concur with Daniel.

Another researcher  who worked for him had deep suspicions though no proof but told a story about a colleague  remarkably similar to one reported in the Jewish Chronicle this August. Only in this case Mr Janner did take the young man down to the sauna.

Whatever happens the Jay inquiry does need to look at Janner as part of its institutional abuse inquiry. There is too much smoke around to dismiss this particular fire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leak of Dame Janet Smith report on Savile and the BBC nominated for national media award

My  set of stories for Exaro News earlier this year revealing the contents of Dame Janet Smith’s report on Jimmy Savile’s activities at the BBC  has been nominated for a national media award.

The series of stories have been short listed in the breaking news story of the year  for next month’s Drum On Line Media awards – pitching it against TV coverage of the Shoreham air crash , the Alton Towers disaster and the BBC’s coverage of the Paris terror attacks.

The report which was highly critical of the culture at the BBC that allowed  Jimmy Savile to flourish. By the day after Exaro published the report every national paper was carrying the story.

The leaked report revealed how Dame Janet Smith, the retired judge who led the review, condemned BBC culture over Savile’s paedophile activities at the Corporation. She criticised the BBC for a “very deferential culture”, its “untouchable” stars and “above the law” managers.

In a series of articles, Exaro revealed how BBC employees were too afraid to report Savile to managers, and how BBC people feared blowing the whistle even more now.

The series of articles also exposed a BBC culture where celebrities were treated with “kid gloves” while managers drank heavily, and how the Smith review warned that “a predatory child abuser could be lurking undiscovered in the BBC even today.

The series of 22 stories published on the same day revealed how more than 100 BBC employees told Smith that they heard about Savile’s predatory sexual conduct, and how the review raised evidence of sexual abuse at Top of the Pops that went far wider than Savile.

Exaro also published more than 37,500 words of extracts from Smith’s entire report.

I have no idea whether  we will win the award but the short listing of the  Exaro articles show that investigative journalism is still alive at a time when Exaro has taken criticism from other national media for its coverage of other controversial issues like the child sex abuse scandal.

I would also like to pay tribute to my brave source and my colleagues at Exaro particularly Alex Varley Winter. Without the leak of the story people would not have been so well informed on the day when the report was published and Dame Janet Smith had to account for her report and the BBC director general, Tony Hall, had to explain what he was going to do about it.

 

Holding Tony Hall, BBC director general to account over Savile

BBC director general Tony Hall

BBC Director General Tony hall. Pic Credit:BBC

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The press launch of Dame Janet Smith’s forensic review into Savile’s  predatory activities at the BBC was an impressive affair.

Survivors are naturally disappointed that she failed to land a terminal blow on senior management at the BBC. They did not have the satisfaction of seeing heads roll for Savile getting away with sexually or indecently assaulting 72 people at different BBC venues or in private flats after attending BBC events. But it was not a whitewash.

It was impressive for two reasons. Dame Janet is a formidable performer ( as I found out when I tried to sneak  two questions past her) and had a  real grasp of the issues of why Savile had been able to get away with his monstrous behaviour for decades.

Tony Hall – who looked visibly moved after reading her horrific findings – did not take the easy way out. He did not as I feared say this was a dark period for the BBC but now everything was OK  after new measures had been taken to protect children and encourage whistleblowers. He took it on the chin the modified conclusion of Dame Janet that there could be another manipulative, charming, clever paedophile still working at the BBC or any other major organisation. He also pledged to do something about it.

Dame  Janet who in my view gratuitously threw away half her terms of reference dealing with recommendations for new child protection guidelines has laid down a pretty tough schedule to make sure something is really done at the BBC.

As she says  “My recommendation is that within, say six months of this report, the BBC should set out its official response to all the reports and should explain what its current rules, policies and procedures are in respect of each of the areas which have been open to criticism and demonstrate that these apply current best practice.”

“…the BBC should.. commission an independent audit of the operation of those rules, policies and procedures. It should set out the timeframe in which each of these areas will be subject to audit, how the audit will be undertaken and should confirm that the results of each audit will be made public. Further, it should undertake now to make any changes to procedures recommended by those audits to ensure that it maintains best practice in these extremely important areas.  ”

She also called for greater commitment to whistleblowers  at the BBC and for the BBC to change its hierarchy and stop its worship of “Talent” who  like Savile seemed to be able to get away with anything as a BBC VIP.

Tony Hall has to be held accountable to do all of this. His contrition should not been seen as a one day wonder. He owes it to brave journalists like Meirion Jones and Liz MacKean,  who were determined to expose Savile but were thwarted by the BBC establishment. He owes it, above all to all the survivors, and any future victim of sexual abuse on BBC premises.

All this will come when the BBC is under enormous pressure to cut costs savagely  under Charter Renewal and with Rupert Murdoch seeking to destroy the BBC as a  formidable media player. But the promises he made to survivors must be carried out.

He also ought to commit the BBC to playing a much bigger role in investigative journalism and use its resources to bear down remorselessly on issues like child sex abuse and corruption that need exposing. The pressure for  that won’t come  from Dame Janet.

I got the impression yesterday that investigative journalists were not Dame Janet’s favourite people. She thought that an accurate and comprehensive leak of her report  on a  issue of  major importance in a publicly funded institution was not in the public interest. Really?

Leaked Savile Report: The BBC culture that failed to protect people from abuse

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Dame Janet’s highly critical report on the BBC’s handling of Jimmy Savile leaked to me  pinpoints  very serious issues at the Corporation which are still not resolved.

The official response from Tony Hall, the director general of the BBC, that this was a dark day for the BBC and it is all in the past does not wash.

Nor frankly does Dame Janet Smith’s plea to ignore this “early” draft. All the evidence  from people was taken before it was compiled and she has said she has not changed her conclusions. So will she rewrite it now?

Her draft report is not a whitewash. It is a closely argued analysis revealing a culture that allowed considerable sex abuse to flourish at ground floor level without a mechanism to report this to the top. This does not seem to have  changed and has conveniently let all the BBC’s top executives off the hook.

It reveals a  crass deferential attitude to celebrities – who could do anything they liked because they were ” untouchable” and people looked the other way. This is no different today – given the present cult of celebrity.

It also reveals an organisation that is more concerned with its public reputation that tackling the root of the problem- how to stamp out opportunities for sexual abuse.

Not only were under age  adolescents and children the victims of sexual abuse but so were  staff employed by the BBC – who did not complain because they wanted to keep their jobs.

And if anyone complained it seemed the BBC was woefully inadequate in investigating what happened – if it did indeed want to get to the real truth. That failure extended to its own investigations into the issue by its own investigative journalists who found their work dropped or sidelined.

When the BBC does publish the report it will have a lot of explaining to do. On the central issue of child sex abuse Dame Janet concludes that there could still be a paedophile lurking in the BBC and thinks the chance of this being exposed is now worse than then – because many people are on short term contracts and would worry if they could work again.

Her findings directly contradict a report commissioned by the BBC last year from the firm Good Corporation which praises the BBC’s policies in preventing a repeat of child sex abuse. Which is right?

Also it is still clear  the whistle blowing process at the BBC, is, at best, not properly promoted ( say the Good Corporation) or worse, virtually non existent  (  says Dame Janet’s review).

So I don’t think anyone should be fobbed off by complacent attitudes from the BBC and attempts to move the debate to the dim and distant past,. The BBC failed a group of survivors of sexual abuse by doing nothing then – and could be doing the same now.

Exaro Exclusive: Dame Janet Smith’s criticism of the BBC over Savile

Jimmy Savile BBC

Jimmy Savile : Credit: BBC clip

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On the day Dame Janet Smith finally promised to publish her findings into the activities of paedophile Jimmy Savile in the BBC Exaro has published the main points in her draft report which examined and analysed what happened at our major broadecaster.

The report is a devastating critique of  the BBC’s culture in the 1970s and 1980s where ” talent” was ” untouchable”, managers were ” above the law” and there was a heavy drinking culture among top executives.

Her report outlines multiple rapes and indecent assaults on girls and boys, and incidents of “inappropriate sexual conduct” with teenagers above 16, all “in some way associated with the BBC”. Altogether there were over 60 victims and possibly up to 100 people had heard rumours about his activities, but nearly all at shop floor rather than managerial level.

“Three of Savile’s victims were only nine years old.”

Many BBC employees told Smith’s “review” that they had heard about Savile’s predatory sexual conduct, but feared reporting concerns to managers. But Smith accepts a series of denials by senior figures that they were aware of Savile’s sexual misconduct.

Most of Savile’s rapes, attempted rapes and more serious sexual assaults took place in his flats or caravans, she says.

“However, I heard of incidents that took place in virtually every one of the BBC premises at which he worked. These included the BBC Television Theatre (in connection with Jim’ll Fix It), at Television Centre (in particular in connection with Top of the Pops), at Broadcasting House or Egton House (where he worked in connection with BBC Radio 1), Lime Grove studios and various provincial studios, including Leeds, Manchester and Glasgow.

Exaro reveals today how Smith’s draft report:

We also publish the key extracts from the Smith report’s summary and conclusions, and from its damning chapter on the BBC’s management culture.

I will comment about this in a later blog but the revelations as anyone can see are wide ranging and very substantial.

 

 

Jimmy Savile: How the BBC have by passed Dame Janet Smith’s child sexual abuse review

Jimmy Savile BBC

Jimmy Savile: Credit: BBC clip

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The BBC is an extremely adept organisation in managing news – especially involving its own organisation. So faced with the huge Jimmy Savile scandal it launched a review into how the culture at the BBC allowed such a monster celebrity to get away with such vile and nasty crimes for so long.It also had a remit to decide what child protection and whistle blowing policies were needed to prevent it happening again.

The Corporation appointed a very well respected former judge, Dame Janet Smith, who investigated the appalling misdeeds of murderer Harold Shipman – a GP who killed his own patients.

Her report finished over a year ago  remains unpublished because of ongoing police investigations and no date has even been set when it will see the light of day.

But midway through her inquiry the BBC suddenly changed  the remit of the inquiry – separating the investigation into what  went wrong from the recommendations  of what is needed to put everything right in the BBC’s present day child protection and whistleblowing policies.

This change in  the terms of reference of an inquiry -midway through an investigation- looks pretty unusual to me. It hasn’t happened elsewhere to my knowledge. The reason given was the trial of BBC presenter Stuart Hall was delaying the report’s publication ( rather ironical given that it is still not published) and there was a need to get the BBC’s child protection and whistleblowing policies sorted out. In fact the trial was over within six weeks.

Nevertheless by then the BBC had appointed Good Corporation, a business ethics company, without tendering, to do the work  on changing present day policies for an unknown fee.

The full saga is reported by me and Tim Wood on the Exaro website today.

The findings of Good Corporation’s report were made public last July on the very day the BBC issued its annual report and accounts which dominated the media. You can read them on Exaro here. They are full of praise for the BBC’s current child protection policies and have little criticism of its whistleblowing policies.

Evidently the BBC is a wonderful place to work, women are rarely sexually harassed by men and  don’t  formally complain about this sort of thing anyway and with a few tweaks whistleblowing works perfectly.

What I find extraordinary is that  the BBC seem to have got away with putting the cart before the horse over Savile. We have no idea what Dame Janet Smith has found out about BBC culture, though there are rumours that the report could be damning

Yet  we have a business consultancy already acquitting the BBC of any problems over child protection and whistleblowing before we know. what the report says. How can the lessons be learned without first presenting the evidence.

Finally there is an extraordinary rub. All this information I have reported is in the public domain but has never been reported by the press which seemed to be asleep on the job. The change to the terms of reference and Good Corporation report findings were openly announced by the BBC. Yet no one was interested  even though Jimmy Savile is the most prominent paedophile ever to have lived in the UK. Amazing.

 

Grant Shapps Tories defend the man who gave Jimmy Savile the keys to Broadmoor

While  Tory chairman Grant Shapps presides over the party conference in Birmingham – attacking Tory defector to UKIP Mark Reckless- an extraordinary event is going on in his own constituency, Welwyn Hatfield in Hertfordshire.

John Dean, the leader of the Tory Welwyn Hatfield council and a prominent member of his constituency party is on record defending Alan Franey, his deputy leader of the authority – better known now as the former general manager of Broadmoor who gave Jimmy Savile free range in the facility. Franey had known Savile for 20 years.

Political Scrapbook which broke the story on the net have given me permission to reproduce the tale disclosed originally by the Welwyn Hatfield Times but surprisingly not put on the internet.

Mr Franey is definitely a big cheese in the Tories with a Cabinet job controlling the authority’s spending and a close relationship with Hertfordshire police. It beggars belief that nothing has been done about this given the disclosures following Savile’s exposure as a paedophile  – and I am told he  will survive the no confidence motion  tabled by Labour because of the huge majority the Tories enjoy on the council.

This is Political Scrapbook’s report:

A political ally of Tory chairman Grant Shapps is under pressure to resign over allegations linking him to the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal.  The relationship between Savile and Alan Franey — now the deputy leader of Shapps’ local council and a police and crime panel member — was the subject of harsh scrutiny by an official NHS investigation.

The Welwyn Hatfield Times reports that Cllr Franey will now face a no confidence vote from colleagues on Monday.

With paedophile Savile enjoying unfettered access to Broadmoor Hospital in the 1980s,a running partner, Cllr Franey, was appointed as the general manager of the facility in 1988 — apparently at the insistence of Savile. Witnesses told investigators about closeness between the pair, with Franey asking for “the godfather” when he regularly rang Stoke Mandeville hospital to speak with the TV presenter.

Franey — who strongly denies any wrongdoing and claims he has been made a “scapegoat”, is mentioned no less than 86 times in the official report into the Broadmoor abuse.

According to the report, Savile was fond of invoking his relationship with Franey and other “people in high places” in conversation with hospital staff.  Interviewees also told the inquiry that Franey was “seen as having authorised” Savile’s “unrestricted access to secure and clinical areas of the hospital”.

One health executive told investigators that Franey had told him Savile had “a little secret … a liking for young girls, the younger the better”, a claim strongly denied by Cllr Franey, who also denies that any complaints about Savile reached him.

The report raises allegations about Franey’s personal conduct, such as concurrent affairs with female staff, which may have given Savile and others leverage over the health chief. Again, Franey denies the claims:

“Widespread stories about [Cllr Franey’s] personal conduct circulated within the hospital and outside it, damaging his stature and credibility and hampering his ability to lead improvement”

The report then cites a particular incident in which a nurse was sacked for having “had a sexual relationship with a female patient”:

“she lodged an industrial tribunal case, at which she threatened to make public embarrassing revelations about the hospital’s management. Documents from the time show that this was believed to include allegations about Franey’s personal conduct, involving herself and other members of staff.

But investigators couldn’t find anyone who could explain why the nurse withdrew her claim, suggesting that “an irregular payment” may have been made and noting that the nurse“was, like Savile, a close associate of Franey’s”.