Monday, 21 December 2015

Death of Lord Janner

The death of Lord Janner of Braunstone has been reported - The Guardian 19th December.

The proceedings against him were covered in previous posts -18th April; 29th June; 13th August and 7th December.

In April, a decision not to prosecute Janner for 22 alleged serious sexual offences was taken by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and this decision was based on clear medical evidence as to Janner's dementia.  In June, following a review, this decision was reversed.  The reversal of the decision followed a "Victims Right to Review" process instigated by six of the complainants and conducted by David Perry QC.   Janner's case was sent to the Crown Court and, on 7th December, Mr Justice Openshaw ruled that Janner was unfit to plead - read the decision dated 7th December 2015.

Had Janner lived, there would have proceedings in the Crown Court (with a jury) to decide whether he "did the act or made the omission" of the alleged offences.  Had he been found to have done the acts there would NOT have been a conviction or punishment -  see the analysis in R v M [2002] 1 WLR 824.  The courts powers are confined by statute to measures designed to treat, rehabilitate and support while, in the most serious cases, providing protection for the public.  The court is confined to ordering an absolute discharge, a supervision order or, if appropriately certified by medical practitioners, making a hosptial order.

On the clear evidence of four medical practitioners, Janner was undoubtedly suffering from advanced dementia and he was 86 years of age.  In those circumstances it needed to be seriously asked what was the point of the proceedings against him when they could not have served any useful purpose.

A decision on whether the proceedings will be discontinued will be made in January.  The arguments for and against are summarised in this Guardian article where the views of Lord MacDonald (a former DPP) are set out.  Whilst those claiming to be victims will be upset, there is surely little point in continuing with this matter given that the court cannot impose on a dead man any of the orders permitted by the legislation.

CPS Statement regarding Greville Janner

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