Lord Janner's Family Call ?24m-a-year Westminster Child Abuse Probe "a Stain on British Justice" Because They Don't Have Special Status - Unlike Woman Accused of Being Rape Fantasist
By Richard Spillett
January 31, 2018
|Lord Janner is alleged to have abused youngsters over a 30 year period - allegations strenuously denied by his family|
The son of the late Lord Janner has slammed an inquiry examining allegations of paedophilia in Westminster as a 'stain on British justice'.
The Independent Inquiry in Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has so far examined alleged abuse in the church, in children's homes and in private schools.
Today, it began examining claims that MPs and civil servants may have been involved in or turned a blind eye to sex attacks on children.
But the hearing was advised that any issues relating to the late Lord Janner should be referred to the separate strand specifically focusing on the Labour peer.
His family want core participant status in the strand of the inquiry which began today.
They are upset to be denied while that status has been given to Esther Baker, who is accused of making unsubstantiated rape claims against former Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming.
|Esther Baker (pictured), who made unsubstantiated rape allegations against a former Liberal Democrat MP, has been made a ‘core participant’ at the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse|
Lord Janner, who died in December 2015, is alleged to have abused youngsters over a period spanning more than 30 years dating back to the 1950s - allegations strenuously denied by his family.
His son Daniel Janner QC and daughters Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner and Marion Janner have been granted core participant status - giving them a formal role in the inquiry process - in the Lord Janner strand but have been refused such a position in the Westminster strand.
In an impassioned speech during the hearing at the inquiry's headquarters in London, Mr Janner, representing himself, made a renewed application for core participant status.
He claimed the family were being 'shut out' of the Westminster strand and condemned it therefore as a 'stain on British justice'.
Mr Janner said it was unfair that he should be prevented from cross-examining anyone making allegations against his 'beloved, wonderful father'.
He said: 'Here is the thing: that brings discredit to the important work of this inquiry and the legitimate claims of genuine victims.
'Now we are shut out from this strand, is there any wonder that we as a family conclude this is a stain on British justice?'
|Professor Alexis Jay is heading up the inquiry, which was beset with problems before it begun|
And the Westminster strand of the wide-ranging child sex abuse inquiry should not investigate whether or not high-profile individuals such as former prime minister Sir Edward Heath were paedophiles, the hearing was told.
It would not be necessary or proportionate for this part of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse to make findings as to whether individual allegations are true or false, a preliminary hearing was advised today.
Andrew O'Connor QC, lead counsel to the Westminster strand, recommended six areas of investigation to inquiry head Professor Alexis Jay.
Among them were whether there was inappropriate interference in police investigations in an attempt to cover up wrongdoing, as well as in decisions to prosecute.
The inquiry should also look at how political parties reacted to allegations of child sex abuse and whether party whips failed to report or even took steps to conceal allegations, Mr O'Connor said.
Another area of focus should be what policies have been followed should candidates for honours become the subject of child sex abuse allegations, he added.
|The latest strand of the inquiry comes after a separate section heard disgraced politician Cyril Smith (pictured in 1990) received a knighthood in 1988 despite knowledge 'at the very highest level of politics' about past allegations of his sexual abuse|
|Sir Norman Skelhorn, Director of Public Prosecutions for England and Wales from 1964 to 1977, chose not to press charges despite a senior detective warning the 'sordid' accusations against Cyril Smith 'stood up', the inquiry previously heard|
Finally, the inquiry should look into the Paedophile Information Exchange, the membership of which Mr O'Connor said 'appears to have included senior members of the Westminster Establishment'.
He told the hearing public concern regarding allegations of a paedophile ring investigated by police under Operation Midland into claims made by a single accuser, known only as 'Nick', had 'diminished considerably' after a police investigation resulted in no charges being brought.
Last year Operation Conifer concluded that Sir Edward would be questioned over allegations that he raped and indecently assaulted boys as young as 10 were he alive today.
Recommending that allegations against individuals are not considered, Mr O'Connor said: 'In general terms at least, those are matters for the police and for the courts.
'Moreover, the focus of this investigation - and indeed of the inquiry more generally - is on the conduct of institutions, not that of individuals.'
The Westminster strand - one of 13 in the inquiry - should not seek to review the merits of police investigations such as Operation Midland and Operation Conifer, he added.
|The Westminster strand of the inquiry 'should not investigate whether former prime minister Sir Edward Heath (pictured) was a paedophile', the hearing was told|
Proceedings were adjourned for a further preliminary hearing on a date to be set.
The latest strand of the inquiry comes after a separate section heard disgraced politician Cyril Smith received a knighthood in 1988 despite knowledge 'at the very highest level of politics' about past allegations of his sexual abuse.
It also emerged that MI5 provided the inquiry with records detailing allegations that prosecutors had lied about their role in deciding not to prosecute Smith in 1970.
Sir Norman Skelhorn, the DPP at the time, chose not to press charges despite a senior detective warning the 'sordid' accusations against Smith 'stood up', the inquiry previously heard.
The inquiry heard today that public concern over historical abuse in Westminster has dropped since retired judge Sir Richard Henriques delivered a scathing review of Operation Midland, a Met Police probe into paedophilia and homicide at the Dolphin Square housing development near Parliament.
Sir Richard criticised detectives for saying lurid claims of child murder and abuse from their key witness, a man known only as 'Nick', were 'credible and true'.
The report attacked the use of inaccurate information to obtain search warrants and the delay in concluding the case.
The ?20million IICSA inquiry has been plagued with delays and is on its fourth chairwoman since it was set up by Theresa May in 2014.
The IICSA inquiry is attempting drawing together a staggering 13 different probes, including investigations into alleged abuse at Westminster, in children's homes, within the Anglican and Catholic churches.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) explained
Why was it set up?
After the abuse of Sir Jimmy Savile was revealed, only fully after his death in 2011, hundreds came forward to claim they were abused. It would then emerge that these attacks were in NHS hospitals, schools, children's homes and also at the BBC - police and the CPS also made mistakes that let him abuse freely.
In 2014 Theresa May, then Home Secretary, set up the inquiry to 'expose those failures and learn the lessons'.
How does it work?
The inquiry is looking at 13 areas - and they will be covered in the first phase of the inquiry will last around 18 months. A final report on each area are expected to be completed in around five years.
It is being run by Professor Alexis Jay, who led the inquiry into abuse in Rotherham. She will earn ?185,000. She will be helped by various experts and lawyers. Victims will also be represented by a panel.
Witnesses will give evidence under oath but the panel will only return with 'findings of fact' not the civil or criminal liability of named individuals or organisations.
Why has it been controversial?
The Inquiry is now on its fourth chairwoman.
Dame Lowell Goddard, who was handed a package worth ?500,000 including relocation from New Zealand and a ?360,000 annual salary, quit suddenly last year.
It later emerged she charged taxpayers almost ?6,000 to fly treasured possessions including a vase 11,400 miles across the world from New Zealand.
Sources claimed Dame Lowell, appointed by then-Home Secretary Theresa May, had lost the confidence of senior staff and members of the inquiry panel.
New chairwoman Professor Alexis Jay has already had to call in an independent legal expert to examine an alleged cover-up of sexual assault and bullying claims at its headquarters.
Baroness Butler-Sloss and Dame Fiona Woolf both stepped down from the role in 2015 after concerns about their links to the establishment.