Sir Richard Henriques has produced an exhaustive report describing the minutiae of every decision made in respect of Granville Janner.
The main stream Media has reduced those 47 pages to:
“Lord Janner: CPS and police were ‘wrong’ not to prosecute earlier, says official report”.
Social Media has reduced that headline to:
Disgusted by the crimes committed by ‘Lord’ Janner, I believe he should be stripped of his title. Do you agree?
— Dame Alun Roberts (@ciabaudo) January 16, 2016
As ever, the colour and context of the full Henriques report has been ignored.
Having carefully read my way through the full report, something I doubt many journalists will have done, I will say – that in today’s climate of #CSA hysteria, I agree that were the same facts available today, there is little doubt that Lord Janner would have been prosecuted, would have stood trial.
Whether he would have been found guilty is another matter altogether; would any jury of newspaper readers, who have been ‘groomed’ by the media for four years now, to understand that if more than one person makes an allegation against the same person it is irrefutable proof that the man in the dock is guilty, have brought in a ‘not guilty’ verdict? Sadly, I doubt it.
That must mean, surely, that Ms Raccoon is a convert, that she now believes that Janner was an ‘evil pervert’, that he was ‘protected’ by the establishment?
If you think that, you don’t know Ms Raccoon well enough!
Colour and context is everything. Let us look at some of the exhaustive evidence in the Henriques report – which is refreshingly blameless in its neutral language, ‘Complainant 1’ remains just that, neither ‘victim’ nor ‘survivor’…
Complainant 1 originally said in 1991 he had met Greville Janner ‘when he performed a magic show at his school as a member of the magic circle’. (at 2.6) 7 months later he changed that to having met him on a ‘school trip to the House of Commons’ – arranged by the school. (at 2.49) He was describing events in 1975, some 16 years earlier, so can be forgiven for some lapses of memory.
He describes a ‘kindly man’, the local MP, trying to involve local children in cleaning up the area to reduce vandalism. On a subsequent visit to the school, still involved in the same project, Janner offered to take the boy on to a fete which he was about to open. Corroboration of the boy’s story is that he correctly remembered the registration of Janner’s red Jaguar. Janner was made aware that this boy was subtly different to the other boy’s in his school in that when he drove him ‘home’, ‘home’ proved to be the ‘Station Road Children’s Home’ where he met the house parents and promised to stay in touch.
In today’s climate, Janner would already be damned by those sparse facts. ‘He knew this was a ‘vulnerable’ boy’, he ‘groomed him by taking him out in an expensive car’.
In the climate of 1975, Janner would have been damned by society and the media as aloof and high-handed for not taking an interest in one of life’s ‘unfortunates’ and trying to bring some colour into their life. Whatever would have been made of Professor Bell taking groups of underage girls from Duncroft camping in Norfolk – sleeping overnight in a muddy field with them? Or Professor Turner arranging bed-sit accommodation for me at 14 and delivering food and money to me whilst he negotiated my safe return to Duncroft? I dread to think! Certainly no one would dream of extending such kindness to under-age chidlren today. Far too risky.
Janner continued to take an interest in Complainant 1 through a long series of trips, accompanied by his aide:
If Janner had a private meeting his aide would take Complainant 1 around town and the aide would be given money to buy Complainant 1 sweets and toys. (at 2.7)
Both Janner’s aides at the time were interviewed in 1991, they remembered the boy – in particular that he had stolen some money during a visit to the House, that Janner often used the swimming pool at the Holiday Inn, and that when he stayed there, if it was necessary for them to stay overnight, it would be on a sofa-bed in the sitting room part of the suite he used. Neither of them were aware of whether the boy had ever stayed overnight, nor what the sleeping arrangements might have been.
The Henriques report says that:
In 1991, it was of critical importance to investigate sleeping arrangements at the Holiday Inn in Leicester, Aylesbury and at a number of Scottish hotels.
and that the Police were remiss in not having done so. Had they shown that there was no sofa bed, merely twin beds in 1975 – what would that have proved? Had they shown that there was only a double bed and an armchair in 1975 – what would that have proved? It would be mud slinging, relying on the jury’s prejudices – not proof of buggery. Not having so investigated the number of beds is not evidence of an establishment cover-up.
In 1991, when these accusations came to light, the Police were desperately trying to remove a Paedophile from his position of power – Frank Beck. They did investigate Complainant 1’s allegations, made at a late stage in the process of bringing Beck to trial. Complainant 1 had received many letters from Janner over the two years or so that they had been in contact, and when he was moved to Frank Beck’s home, he gave those letters to Beck. Beck kept them and they were recovered by the Police in 1991.
Several years later, after the birth of Complainant 1’s first child, Beck put Janner and Complainant 1 back in touch with each other in the hope that Janner would support Complainant 1 in some practical way.
Some 14 years passed before Complainant 1 saw Janner again. They started writing to each other and Complainant 1 invited Janner to his wedding. Janner did not attend but sent a cheque for £50 and subsequently some money and clothes for the new baby.
Complainant 1’s house mother was interviewed:
Complainant 1 admitted stealing £120 from Janner’s wallet whilst they were in Aylesbury together with a couple of LPs. She rang Janner and asked him to call at the home next time he was in Leicester and, the following weekend, he did so. When she told him of the thefts she said he was totally gobsmacked and said “don’t tell Myra, don’t tell Myra.” He went on to tell her “not to tell his wife because he kept her on a strict budget of £40 week and knowing that he had lost £120 without realising it would cause him problems.” He asked how Complainant 1 had taken the money and she told him that the money had been stolen in Aylesbury the previous weekend. Janner said that Complainant 1 “must have taken it whilst he was in the shower at the hotel whilst he had left his clothes on the bed.”
Following Janner’s visit there was no contact between him and Complainant 1 for some 10 days whereafter Janner came to the home and took Complainant 1 to his surgery. On this occasion Complainant 1 stole £15 to £20 from party funds. She recovered £3 or £4. She informed Janner and stopped Complainant 1’s pocket money until the money was repaid. Janner came to collect the money and saw Complainant 1. That was the last time they saw each other.
Henriques concludes from this that there was proof that they were sharing a room – I am still looking for proof that they were sharing a bed! Certainly I will accept that in today’s climate, any MP who takes a 15 year old boy to stay in a hotel with him deserves to be sectioned, never mind prosecuted; but as evidence of Janner’s guilt, rather than evidence that the Police ‘could’ have prosecuted Janner in 1991, it leaves a lot to be desired if you are hoping that a prosecution in 1991 would have led to a conviction in 1991!
The Police were faced with an attempt to deflect blame from a dangerous paedophile, based on the evidence of a dishonest boy and a mountain of innuendo. Their evidence file contained a note reading:
I am of the opinion that something untoward happened in 1975 between Complainant 1 and Janner. However, I am not convinced that the allegations made by Complainant 1 are completely genuine. There is no direct corroboration and it could be that the allegation has been made to fit the letters recovered from Beck.
It also contained a statement from Beck’s cell mate:
Beck went on to say that he was going to plead not guilty and was going to drag all the top people in. He had got one of the kids to say that Greville Janner had taken him to Scotland and buggered him. When asked by Beck’s cell mate if it was true, Beck said no, but it would throw the light off him. He went on to say that he was sure the kid would stand up and he had three newspapers on his side.
Henriques says ‘it is of significance’ that the prosecution did not rely on this statement at trial – he does not say what the significance might be.
On the 2nd July 1991, Beck’s legal representative took Complainant 1 to Edinburgh to lodge a complaint against Janner to the Scottish police informing them that a complaint had been made to the Leicestershire Police and nothing was being done. Complainant 1 made a further statement in which he gave dates for the Scotland visit and named a hotel, the Caledonian in Edinburgh, which had no surviving record of accommodation booked.
Beck’s defence was that he was innocent of any sexual abuse of children in his care and that his responsibility was to counsel children who had sexual problems arising from sexual abuse.
In 2002, Operation Magnolia was carried out – an investigation into allegations of abuse of young people in Leicester care homes. This was 10 years after widespread publicity of the allegations against Greville Janner during the Beck trial.
106 potential witnesses were identified in the Operation of which 76 made written statements. Of those 56 made allegations of abuse and 26 members of staff from Ratcliffe Road were interviewed as suspects. (3.3)
The reviewing lawyer was of the opinion that if prosecutions ‘could have been brought in time’ there was sufficient evidence of a number of offences of common assault – not sexual assault. However, the reviewing lawyer was never shown a statement made by Complainant 2 – for the simple reason that he was reviewing allegations against staff members, and this statement was an allegation against Greville Janner, who was patently not a member of staff.
The Reviewing Lawyer then wrote “although there have been other allegations against Greville Janner, principally by Complainant 1, these have been reviewed previously and considered insufficient to justify prosecution, they do not therefore provide reliable corroboration of Complainant 3’s evidence. The witness Complainant 2 makes an allegation of buggery against a man who ‘I first thought was from County Hall and then later found out who was either Grenville or Granville Janner’. One wonders how he found out the name of this man and how accurate his information was.” In fact Complainant 2 states, in terms, in his statement how he learned Janner’s name. Suffice it to say at this time that the Reviewing Lawyer was not impressed with Complainant 2’s statement and would not have advised any prosecution upon it or supported by it either in 2002 or 2007.
Regarding Complainant 2’s allegation, Eleanor Laws QC reviewed this:
Complainant 2’s’ evidence, albeit with the advantage of further statements taken in Operation Enamel, and concluded that there was a realistic prospect of conviction on two counts of buggery, one count of indecent assault and one count of gross indecency. She observed “whilst there is no direct evidence from a witness corroborating Complainant 2’s account, there is a wealth of evidence from staff and past residents that support the assertion that Lord Janner visited Children’s Homes and not only had contact with children in them and that he also took them out on day trips.” She did not consider that his past convictions undermined his account. (Complainant 2 had an ‘unfortunate’ back history of several offences)
In 2007 there was Operation Dauntless. This considered amongst other aspects, Complainant 3.
On the 19th December 2007, the Reviewing Lawyer advised in these terms “I take the view that the evidence of Complainant 3 is insufficient to provide a realistic prospect of a conviction. I am also of the view that given the difficulties with Complainant 3’s credibility’s there are no reasonable further lines of enquiry that would strengthen the case to a point where a prosecution becomes possible.”
It is worth reading the sections 4.3 to 4.12 to understand the many occasions on which Complainant 3 was interviewed by Police between 1990 and 2006 and made conflicting statements, none of which mentioned Janner until 2006. That complainant 3 had been sexually abused at periods in his younger life, I do not doubt. That those offences had not resulted in ‘justice’ for a variety of reasons – his credibility, poor as it was, being only one of them – another major stumbling block was the suicide of the alleged offender.
In his advice, dated the 19th December 2007, the Reviewing Lawyer, in advising that the evidence of Complainant 3 was insufficient to provide a realistic prospect of conviction, made specific reference to Complainant 3’s late disclosure of his allegations against Janner, to inconsistencies in his accounts, to his convictions for dishonesty, to his psychiatric report dated October 1979, a report from a member of staff dated November 1988, to the absence of corroboration and to the difficulties in identification, stating that Complainant 3’s assertion that his abuser is Janner is nothing more than speculation and supposition. The Reviewing Lawyer indicated that there were no reasonable lines of inquiry that would strengthen the case to a point where a prosecution becomes possible.
Compliant 3’s evidence for ‘disclosing’ 16 years later that he thought he had been abused by Greville Janner was that he ‘thought the man’s name was Greville – and there aren’t that many Grevilles in the world, are there’.
The Reviewing officer said in 2015 that he:
maintains his opinion that there was an insufficiency of evidence in Complainant 3’s case. He contended that the evidence against Janner was quite weak and, even with an adverse inference, would not have met the evidential test. He would make the same decisions again, even as to interview and search of the home, applying the standards and the guidance in force in 2007.
What the Henriques report does show is that in 2016, Greville Janner would have been charged on the basis of these allegations. It doesn’t show any evidence of an ‘establishment cover-up’ (Janner wasn’t even aware of Complainant 3’s allegations). It doesn’t show any evidence of officials being pressured to ‘loose’ evidence.
It show plenty of evidence of complainants being taken seriously, numerous enquires being made – and then of officials deciding that there was insufficient evidence to drag a possibly innocent man, of public standing which would inevitably attract widespread media coverage, through the courts – on the basis of what they had discovered.
That would never happen today. If you are enjoying the Yewtree ‘show trials’ which ruin reputations without a finding of guilt, then you probably think that is a good thing. I don’t.
Between 2007 and the present day, refinements to CPS procedures and guidance have ensured that decisions made in 1991 and 2007 should not be repeated. In particular the guidelines on prosecutors’ approach to child sexual abuse cases issued on the 11th June 2013 are highly relevant.
Edited by Anna To add: Apologies folks – didn’t mean to leave comments closed – they are now open!