UK

Child sex abuse inquiry: Janner family seeks input

Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Daniel Janner QC and Marion Janner, pictured left to right Image copyright PA
Image caption Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Daniel Janner QC and Marion Janner say their father's accusers are "fantasists"

The family of the late Lord Janner have met a team from the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse to ask to take part in its investigation.

The Labour peer, who died in December 2015, is alleged to have abused youngsters over a 30-year period.

His three grown-up children previously refused "core participant" status at the inquiry on the grounds their late father could not have defended himself.

However, they now want it to have a formal role in the inquiry process.

The major inquiry into historical child sex abuse in England and Wales will examine claims made against local authorities, religious organisations, the armed forces, public and private institutions and people in the public eye.

It recently indicated that it would not make a "finding of fact" in the Janner case unless it was needed as part of its remit to investigate the way institutions responded to accusations.

Outside the inquiry's London headquarters, Lord Janner's son, Daniel Janner QC, attacked the "shambolic and discredited inquiry".

He said there had been a "total failure" to acknowledge "our late father's good character and legal status as innocent".

"This is compounded by a clear and total disregard for the possibility of him being falsely accused," he added.

'Moral panic'

In all, 33 men and women have accused Lord Janner of abusing them, as far back as the late 1960s.

Many were in children's homes in Lord Janner's Leicestershire constituency.

The family say that no accusations were formally made against him until 1991 when the trial of a care home manager for multiple child abuse charges raised the possibility that Lord Janner was involved.

The Janners believe that led to a handful of further accusations, which they say "increased exponentially" following a police investigation of his activities and his death in late 2015.

In a letter to the inquiry shown to the BBC, the family said his accusers were "a combination of fantasists and compensation-seeking disturbed individuals spurred on by ambulance-chasing solicitors who have advertised widely, promising that in 98% of cases claimants will not have to go to court".

The letter continued: "We are certain that our late father is the subject of serious false allegations by both men and women, driven by national 'moral panic' and exploitative compensation lawyers.

"We deplore the continuance of a strand dedicated to our late father based on a false and uncritical assumption of guilt.

"It treats him as an analogue of Jimmy Savile or even Cyril Smith; both of whom there are no grounds to protest innocence, and neither of whom are the subject of individual inquiry modules.

"The strand in relation to our late father was misconceived and was instituted as a kneejerk reaction to media frenzy.

"However much the inquiry may now try to dress it up, our late father is not an institution and it is a cruel and bizarre anomaly that the inquiry has singled him out for a strand of his own."

It went on to say that the inquiry chairman, Professor Alexis Jay, inherited the strand from her predecessor, "the now discredited Justice Goddard", and Prof Jay "should have the moral strength to drop it".

"We will ceaselessly campaign to prevent the strand going ahead. This is our overarching aim, fact finding or not," it added.

The inquiry said its legal team had agreed to meet this month with core participants and other interested parties about the investigation into abuse allegations involving the late Lord Janner.

It said it would not provide a running commentary on those meetings.


Who was Lord Janner?

Image copyright PA
  • Born in Cardiff in 1928
  • Served in the Army and studied at Cambridge before becoming a barrister and then QC
  • Labour MP for Leicester North West and then Leicester West from 1970 until retiring in 1997, when he was made a life peer
  • Diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2009
  • Suspended from the Labour Party in April 2015
  • Ruled unfit to stand trial over allegations of child sexual abuse in December 2015
  • Died 19 December 2015

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