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Hemming backs bid to bring Janner to trial over child sex abuse allegations

Hemming backs bid to bring Janner to trial over child sex abuse allegations

🕔22.Apr 2015

John Hemming, who is fighting to return to the Commons on May 7, is among a cross-party group of politicians calling for the decision not to prosecute Lord Janner over alleged child sex abuse to be reversed.

Mr Hemming (Lib De, Yardley) joined Labour’s Simon Danczuk and Tories Zac Goldsmith and Nadine Dorries in a letter to The Times urging Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders to bring the peer to trial.

Ms Saunders caused a storm of protest in Parliament and among the peer’s alleged victims when she ruled that 86-year-old Lord Janner could not be prosecuted because he is in the latter stages of dementia.

The CPS ruled last Thursday that there was enough evidence to charge him with 22 sexual offences against children dating from 1969 to 1988.

However, Ms Saunders said Janner would not be prosecuted because his deteriorating dementia means there could be no criminal conviction.

In the letter the politicians warn failure to charge Lord Janner may undermine public confidence in the justice system, and ask: “Have we learnt anything from the mistakes of the past?”

They say Ms Saunders’ decision will “horrify” people, particularly because she vowed last year to pursue justice for sexual abuse victims whether their cases were “30 days or 30 years old”.

The letter states:

As long as justice is not seen to be done and the greater public interest is not served, the public will see attempts to investigate establishment figures involved in historic child abuse as a whitewash.

The CPS has acknowledged the case against Lord Janner passes its evidential test, and there are established precedents in proceeding with cases against defendants with advanced dementia.

Defendants have been charged with child abuse and found guilty in their absence. One man’s ill health cannot be a barrier to the greater public interest.

One man’s ill health cannot be barrier to the greater public interest.

Lord Janner, formerly MP for Leicester East, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2009 and is said by his family to require round-the-clock care. He is suspended by the Labour Party and is on leave of absence from the House of Lords.

The peer and his family deny he has committed any wrongdoing. Responding to the letter in The Times, the Crown Prosecution Service said:

The decision not to prosecute Greville Janner was made by the DPP alone, according to the principles and tests set out publicly and which are applied to every case we consider.

The DPP was not unduly influenced by anyone when making this decision.

As head of the CPS – an independent prosecuting authority – the DPP is used to making difficult decisions and will continue to do so independently.”

It has been reported that as many as 25 of Lord Janner’s alleged victims could sue him for up to £2.5 million after Leicestershire Police said they believed there was a case to answer.

John Hemming is amongst prospective parliamentary candidates taking part in a hustings event this evening organised by the voice of the business, professional and financial services sector in Birmingham, BPS Birmingham, and chartered accountancy network ICAS. He faces Howard Allen (Green, Solihull), Tom Ebbutt (Labour, Bromsgrove), Rachel Maclean (Conservative, Birmingham Northfield) and Keith Rowe (Ukip, Birmingham Northfield).

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