Labour peer Greville Janner is currently under investigation by the Scotland Police over allegations that he travelled to Scotland with an underage teenage boy in the 1970s and sexually assaulted him there. While the police will not reveal any details of the ongoing investigation, it is reported that this allegation had first been made to the police in 1991. This is the same year that the earliest abuse allegations against Lord Janner were made, by a witness in an abuse trial against Frank Beck, who ran a number of care homes in Leicestershire.
The news follows the recent announcement by the Crown Prosecution Service – the remit of which does not extend to Scotland – that it intends to instruct an independent senior prosecutor to review its decision not to prosecute the 86 year old former MP for sexual abuse. Lord Janner would have faced 22 counts of indecent assault and buggery, following allegations by nine men of abuse occurring mainly in Leicester care homes, the most recent relating to incidents that are alleged to have taken place in 1986.
The original decision was made in light of Lord Janner’s severe dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, despite the Crown Prosecution Service considering that there was sufficient evidence to proceed with a prosecution. The decision had been the subject of considerable criticism and political pressure, as well as the threat of a legal challenge by the Leicestershire police.
In addition, the Statutory Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, led by Justice Lowell Goddard, is due to investigate claims made against Lord Janner, potentially calling him to give evidence despite his disease. However, in light of recent indications from the Inquiry that it could take eight years to publish its final report, campaigners are concerned that the opportunity for justice may be lost due to Lord Janner’s rapidly declining health.