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Report finds multiple failings in responses to child sexual abuse claims against Lord Janner QC

19 October 2021

There were a series of failings during police investigations involving the late Lord Janner with officers appearing reluctant to investigate child sexual abuse claims against him, a report by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has found.

For the ‘Institutional responses to allegations of child sexual abuse involving the late Lord Janner of Braunstone QC’ investigation, the Inquiry received information relating to 33 alleged victims, including details of their allegations against Lord Janner, which spanned three decades, alongside the outcome of the police investigation into those complaints.

The report found that Leicestershire Police’s Operation Magnolia, which examined allegations against Lord Janner in 1999, was insufficient and seemingly involved a deliberate decision by Leicestershire Police to withhold key witness statements from the Crown Prosecution Service. Kevin Yates, who was part of Operation Magnolia’s investigation team, thought there may have been a positive instruction not to mention Lord Janner to the Crown Prosecution Service. Whatever the reason, the failure to pass on these statements was serious and inexcusable.

Another operation, Operation Dauntless, was established by Leicestershire Police in May 2006, following an alleged victim’s allegation that he had been sexually abused by a number of men, including Lord Janner. The Inquiry found that Senior Investigating Officer Christopher Thomas and Leicestershire Crown Prosecution Service reviewing lawyer Roger Rock appeared ‘reluctant’ to progress the investigation. The report concludes that their decisions were unsound and strategically flawed.

Leicestershire County Council was also found to have had a sorry record of failures in relation to the sexual abuse of children in its care in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. It’s clear that  a number of Leicestershire County Council’s staff were aware of, and had concerns about, Lord Janner’s association with a child in its care, with the report concluding that further enquiries should have been made. The Inquiry found evidence that a number of staff raised these concerns with senior management. The council told the Inquiry it “accepts that it failed to take adequate steps in response to those concerns.”

Chair to the Inquiry Professor Alexis Jay said:

“Despite numerous serious allegations against the late Lord Janner, police and prosecutors appeared reluctant to fully investigate the claims against him. On multiple occasions police put too little emphasis on looking for supporting evidence and shut down investigations without pursuing all outstanding enquiries.”

“It was a similar picture for Leicestershire County Council, which had a sorry record of failures in relation to the sexual abuse of children in its care over several decades. A number of council staff had concerns about Lord Janner's association with a particular child in residential care, and further enquiries should have been carried out.”

“This investigation has brought up themes we are now extremely familiar with, such as deference to powerful individuals, the barriers to reporting faced by children and the need for institutions to have clear policies and procedures setting out how to respond to allegations of child sexual abuse, regardless of the prominence of the alleged abuser.”

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