At long last, Lord Janner is to be prosecuted

Keith Hudson

At long last, Lord Janner is to be prosecuted on 22 charges of paedophilia against boys he took to his private room at the House of Commons during the 1970s and ’80s.  He was well known for this long before he . . . was made a peer.  This is just one of many cases involving high level politicians, civil servants, judges, generals and others who held parties with young boys (involving the death of two of them) which the government have been delaying for years.  The police have had the evidence for years and let it be known now and again.  They have been plainly frustrated by the Crown Prosecution Service noot gloing ahead.

The Director of Public Prosecutions decided some months ago that Lord Janner could not be prosecuted.  The reason Alison Saunders gave was that he had Alzheimer’s disease — certified by two doctors — he was therefore unfit to appear in court to defend himself.  (Whose doctors were they anyway?  They weren’t appointed by the courts or the DPP.)  There is, of course, no reason why he should not be prosecuted fairly.  He would be represented by high-class barristers whether he is senile or not.  He need not give evidence.

Because of the persistence of some of the victims over the years, public opinion has at last built up sufficient momentum to make an impression on the government.  As always, when faced with these sorts of difficulties the government can invent some pseduo-constitutional get-out and on this occasion used a ‘legal review’ of some sort.

In order to save face, the government have decided that because of his ‘advanced’ senility (which I doubt very much) he won’t be convicted.  But the evidence will be fully presented — and presumably tested by barristers on both sides.  This is actually quite unsatisfactory, but as the victims are happy that the evidence will at least appear at long last if is not for me or anybody else to demur further.

I’ve long suspected that the years of delay in the Lord Janner case was a try-on by the government to see how far they could get away with it.  As far as I know from from snippets in the press over the years Lord Janner never hurt the boys physically — he used to give them presents.  His case, serious enough for the psychological harm he inflicted, doesn’t compare with what is alleged to have gone on with the other parties nhwld outside the House of Commons that the police want to prosecute. Physical cruelty and two deaths of boys are also involved in these in the 1970s and ’80s.

In this more serious bunch of cases the government got away with it after many years of procrastination, and then, more recently, by saying that the Home Office had “irretreivably lost 114 files” which contained letters and statements about the wild parties.  No-one could actually say that the civil servants at the Home Office were liars, so the matter rested fkir a while.  I think the government were seeing whether senile decay could be used in their case, too.  Of course, these cases ahppened long enougbh ago for some of those who would have been charged to be dying anyway.  One of those who are alleged to have taken part in paedophiliac orgies was a very senior civil servant who has now died.

The decision to hold court proceedings in the case of Lord Janner is doubly welcome because, with luck, the government will now tell the Crown Prosecution Service to proceed with the more serious cases.

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