“Trial of facts” may still take place into abuse claims after Janner death
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The Crown Prosecution Service today indicated that a “trial of the facts” may still take place into alleged abuse by Labour peer Lord Janner, who died on Saturday.
In a statement, the CPS said it was considering “the procedural implications” of the case and that it would not be commenting further until a court hearing in January, leaving the door open for a possible trial of the facts.
Former MP Janner, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, died peacefully at his Muswell Hill home but with his personal reputation in tatters following persistent accusations that he was a serial abuser of boys.
The allegations, which were always denied by Janner and his family, first surfaced in 1991 and related to boys in care homes in his Leicester constituency.
Last April, director of public prosecutions Alison Saunders controversially ruled that Janner would not face trial because of his advanced Alzheimer’s, which apparently rendered him unable to instruct solicitors or enter a plea.
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Had he been found fit to stand trial, he would have been charged with 22 counts of sexual assault on male minors between 1969 and 1988.
Following an independent review of the DPP’s decision, a trial of the facts was scheduled for next year, to allow the alleged victims to have their day in court without a defendant in the dock.
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Liz Dux, the solicitor representing six of the alleged victims, said after the announcement of Janner’s death: “This is devastating news for my clients. They have waited so long to see this case come before the courts. To be denied justice at the final hurdle is deeply frustrating.”
As well as being a politician and a barrister, Cardiff-born Janner was a leading member of Britain’s Jewish community and former resident of Hampstead Heath.
He was a founding patron and chair of the Holocaust Education Trust, a body which successfully persuaded the government to add teaching about the Holocaust to the National Curriculum in 1988.
The discredited peer also founded the Coexistence Trust, a charity which works to combat Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. and served as vice president of the World Jewish Congress.
In 1955, he married Myra Sheink, who was originally from Australia and was niece of Sir Israel Brodie, the former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain and the Commonwealth.
The pair had two daughters and a son before Myra’s death in 1996.
His younger daughter, Laura Janner Klausner, was Rabbi at the North London Reform Synagogue in Alyth Gardens until 2011.
Lord Janner’s family said he would be “deeply missed” and requested their privacy be respected at this time.
Yiftah Curiel, spokesman for the Israeli embassy, tweeted: “The Embassy of Israel in London is saddened to hear about the death of Lord Greville Janner. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family”.