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Lord Janner deemed too unwell to stand trial over child sex abuse allegations signed letter one week before CPS dropped case

Published 21/04/2015

The Crown Prosecution Service had decided it would not pursue Janner due to the “severity” of his illness
The Crown Prosecution Service had decided it would not pursue Janner due to the “severity” of his illness

Lord Janner, the 86-year-old veteran Labour peer deemed too unwell with dementia to stand trial for child sex abuse allegations has been found to have signed a letter requesting a leave of absence earlier this month.

A House of Lords spokesman confirmed the letter signed by Lord Janner is dated 9 April, just one week before the Crown Prosecution Service’s (CPS) announcement that the peer was unfit to face charges due to the “severity” of his illness.

The letter, which was released to the Press Association, was addressed to David Beamish, the clerk of the parliaments, and stated: “I am writing to request a leave of absence from the House of Lords for the duration of the 2015 Parliament. I understand that this will take effect on the next sitting day.”

The words “Janner of Braunstone” have been written underneath the signature, which was blanked out to avoid risk of identity theft. However, the spokesperson for the House of Lords said there was no reason to believe the letter had been signed by someone else, and that the signature matched previous examples from the peer.

Leicestershire Police, who have led the latest investigation against the peer, said they were “considering” contacting the Lords about the letter. They had previously called the CPS’s decision not to charge Lord Janner extremely worrying, and said the force is considering taking legal action to overturn it.

The CPS admitted it has enough evidence to prosecute Lord Janner over 22 sex offences against nine people, including four counts of buggery against a minor, after more than a dozen people came forward to claim they were abused by the peer in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

The Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders said at the time that there had been enough evidence found on three previous occasions – in 1991, 2002 and 2007 – to prosecute Lord Janner, but no charges were ever brought. It is a matter of “deep regret,” she said, but stopped short of issuing an apology.

Medical experts have established that for this case Lord Janner is not fit to stand trial due to his suffering from Alzheimer’s, which affects his memory, and his need for round-the-clock care, meaning he is not fit to plead or give evidence, meaning a criminal trial “could not now properly take place,” the CPS said.

“But for medical considerations, it would undoubtedly have been in the public interest to prosecute,” the CPS added.

Leicester Police said that since the CPS’s decision not to proceed with a trial a number of new alleged victims have come forward.

Prosecutors revealed that if Lord Janner was well, he would be charged with 14 indecent assaults on a male under 16 between 1969 and 1988; two indecent assaults between 1984 and 1988; four counts of buggery of a male under 16 between 1972 and 1987; and two counts of buggery between 1977 and 1988.

The Lord has been suspended from the Labour party “in light of these very serious allegations”.

In statement issued through lawyers last week, Lord Janner's family said: "Lord Janner is a man of great integrity and high repute with a long and unblemished record of public service.

"He is entirely innocent of any wrongdoing.

"As the Crown Prosecution Service indicated today, this decision does not mean or imply that any of the allegations that have been made are established or that Lord Janner is guilty of any offence."

Source: Independent

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