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Child sex abuse inquiry halts Lord Janner probe pending police and IPCC action

Published 16/11/2016

Lord Janner is alleged to have abused youngsters over a period spanning more than 30 years
Lord Janner is alleged to have abused youngsters over a period spanning more than 30 years

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA)'s investigation into the handling of the case of late peer Lord Janner has been delayed.

A spokeswoman said the inquiry was committed to holding oral hearings but had postponed proceedings in order to allow the police and Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to continue separate investigations.

A spokeswoman for the IICSA said: "The Inquiry's hearing into the institutional responses to allegations of child sexual abuse against the late Lord Janner of Braunstone QC has been delayed.

"This is in order to allow the ongoing police and IPCC investigations to continue so that we can avoid potential issues around witness overlap.

"We are still absolutely committed to holding oral hearings on this investigation."

Lord Janner, 87, who died in December, is alleged to have abused youngsters over a period spanning more than 30 years dating back to the 1950s, with offending said to have taken place at children's homes and hotels.

The allegations against him were due to be examined at hearings of the public inquiry.

Richard Scorer, head of abuse at Slater and Gordon, which represents a number of Lord Janner's alleged victims, called for "swift clarification" on when the inquiry hearings will begin.

He said: "Further delays to the inquiry are extremely disappointing for alleged victims who have already had to wait decades for justice.

"We understand the legal reasons for the delay, given the ongoing police investigations, but the survivors need swift clarification on when the inquiry hearings will begin.

"We are however pleased that we have received a formal written assurance from the Inquiry today that there will be oral hearings in the Janner module, and that all core participants will be fully consulted should the inquiry be minded to make any changes to the format of its investigation."

News of the delay comes after the resignation of another senior lawyer.

Aileen McColgan, a law professor at Kings' College London involved in the inquiry's investigations into the Anglican and Catholic Church, reportedly quit due to concerns over the inquiry's leadership.

Her departure follows the resignation of the inquiry's senior counsel Ben Emmerson and his junior colleague, Elizabeth Prochaska.

The inquiry has also had four different chairwomen since it was set up in 2014.

The current chair is Professor Alexis Jay.

Asked about the latest departure Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: "Yes, I still have confidence in the inquiry."

An inquiry spokeswoman did not confirm or deny Ms McColgan's departure.

She said: "We have a large legal team comprising a number of junior counsel, senior counsel and solicitors.

"They come and go subject to their professional obligations and we are not commenting on specifics."

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