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Father questions Janner decision

Published 19/04/2015

Lord Janner was investigated under three different police inquiries between 1991 and 2007
Lord Janner was investigated under three different police inquiries between 1991 and 2007

The father of a mentally ill woman who killed herself days before going on trial for making a false rape claim has questioned the decision not to take legal action against Lord Janner because of his dementia.

David de Freitas hit out at the Crown Prosecution Service's (CPS) decision not to press sex charges against the former Labour peer due to his ill health, when his own daughter was prosecuted for a single offence and was a suicide risk.

Mr de Freitas's daughter Eleanor killed herself on April 4 last year, three days before she was due to stand trial accused of perverting the course of justice.

The 23-year-old trainee accountant had a history of mental health problems and was suffering with bipolar disorder. She said she felt there was "no way out" as the CPS told her she would stand trial.

Her inquest, held in south London last month, heard the case had been a significant "stressor" in her life at the time she killed herself.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) said the CPS had been "correct" in pursuing a criminal case against Ms de Freitas, but her father said the standards applied when considering Lord Janner's mental health should have applied to his straight-A student daughter.

Mr de Freitas said: "The CPS do have a duty to monitor the state of health of the person they are considering prosecuting - the DPP is right there.

"How is it then that the CPS made no attempt at such monitoring of Eleanor?

"As far as I am aware, there is no marked risk of suicide for those who suffer from dementia. Why is dementia worthy of consideration and not bipolar?"

Former Leicester West MP Lord Janner, 86, was investigated under three different police inquiries between 1991 and 2007.

He is accused of using his position as MP for Leicester to abuse vulnerable boys at a local children's home in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

Earlier this week, current DPP Alison Saunders, who is head of the CPS, said there was enough evidence to bring charges against the former Labour peer, but that his dementia meant he was too sick to stand trial. His family say he is unconnected to any wrongdoing.

Mr de Freitas said: "I think it is fair to say that charges of sex offences are greater than one charge of perverting the course of justice.

"In a matter of a prosecution for something more severe than perverting the course, it is clearly wrong that the interests of a member of 'the establishment' should have precedence over the interests of a vulnerable 23-year-old young woman.

"Prosecuting those who make allegations of rape with the offence of perverting the course of justice will only make women less inclined to report allegations of rape, a crime which is already less reported than it should be. Where is the public interest in that?"

Lord Janner's alleged victims are considering legal action following the decision not to prosecute.

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