Lord Janner child sex abuse case dropped following peer's death

Lord Janer suffered from dementia and a court had declared him unfit to stand trial Credit: PA
  • Video report by ITV News reporter Ben Chapman

The sex offences trial of the late Labour peer Lord Greville Janner will not go ahead, it has been announced.

Prosecutor Richard Whittam QC told trial judge Mr Justice Openshaw that the Crown would not proceed with the planned trial of facts at the Old Bailey.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) brought legal proceedings against Janner last year but the situation was left in limbo following the peer's death in December.

The 87-year-old was charged with 22 sexual offences going back to the 1963, with many of the victims under 16 at the time.

One alleged victim John Gater says he was abused by Janner as a boy for three years at a working man's club in Leicester.

Mr Gater told ITV News today was just the latest in a series of "disappointments".

  • How have the alleged victims reacted to the decision?

Liz Dux, who represents eight of Lord Janner's alleged victims, told ITV News that her clients were "devastated" by the decision.

She said they now hoped to give evidence to the separate Goddard inquiry which is examining historic sexual abuse claims.

  • What stage had the trial got to?

Lord Janner suffered from dementia and when the case began in the Old Bailey trial judge Justice Openshaw declared him unfit to stand trial.

Instead a "trial of the facts", where a jury considers the evidence but does not make a verdict on guilt, was to go ahead in April.

During today's short hearing Mr Whittam revealed that at the time of Janner's death the prosecution had an application pending to introduce a second tranche of charges.

The defence, meanwhile, had been in the process of trying to get the case halted due to an "abuse of process", he said.

Credit: ITV News
  • What happened in the lead up to the trial?

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Alison Saunders had originally decided that Lord Janner should not be charged because of his ill health.

But a public backlash led to a review of the decision and in June Ms Saunders was forced into a U-turn.

In August Janner appeared for less than a minute in Westminster Magistrate's Court - his final public appearance - and the case was transferred to the Old Bailey.

As the case got under way in December Justice Openshaw formally riled Janner unfit to stand trial and confirmed a "trial of the facts".

  • What happens now?

While the criminal trial has now been closed, the allegations may still to be examined by the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse led by Justice Lowell Goddard.

Ms Dux, who is a specialist abuse lawyer with Slater and Gordon, said her clients hoped the Goddard inquiry would prioritise the matter.

She told ITV News: "They very much hope that the painstaking evidence that has been gathered by the police in the last few years is not missed, that that is submitted to the Goodard inquiry in full ... and that findings of facts will be made there and will be issued to the public."

Separately, the CPS said the findings of an inquiry into the way the allegations against Janner were handled would be published " at the earliest opportunity".