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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Institutional responses to allegations of child sexual abuse involving the late Lord Janner of Braunstone QC Investigation Report

Executive Summary


This investigation focusses on the institutional responses to allegations of child sexual abuse made against Greville Janner, the late Lord Janner of Braunstone QC, in circumstances where there has been no criminal conviction or civil finding of fact that the alleged abuse occurred. This investigation did not examine the truth or otherwise of the allegations.

At the time of his death, Lord Janner was awaiting trial in relation to allegations made by nine complainants and the prosecution were in the process of seeking to add charges in relation to three more complainants. Those 12 complainants formed part of a larger number of complainants who made allegations that Lord Janner had sexually abused them when they were children.

In total, the Inquiry received information relating to 33 complainants, including details of their allegations against Lord Janner, which spanned three decades, and the outcome of the police investigation into those complaints. The information supplied by all the participants assisted the Inquiry in examining institutional responses to those allegations.

Examination of institutional responses in the absence of formal court findings is an important feature of the Inquiry’s work. Much of the work undertaken by the statutory agencies responsible for child protection necessarily involves an assessment of the risks to children of sexual abuse where the alleged perpetrator has not been subject to formal proceedings. Such assessments are not constrained by a conviction of a perpetrator or an acquittal, or circumstances where there have been no court proceedings. Child protection and safeguarding arrangements must be considered regardless of the actions taken in respect of the alleged perpetrator.

As we explain in Part A, it was necessary to conduct much of the public hearing in closed session in order to protect the identity of complainants, who are entitled to lifelong anonymity under the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992. The Inquiry took steps to ensure that as much evidence was heard in public as possible and that, where that was not possible, daily summaries were published (available on the Inquiry’s website).

In maintaining and upholding the complainants’ legal right to anonymity, this report is necessarily limited in what can be said publicly. The contents of this report do not therefore reflect the totality of the evidence we heard or include all our conclusions, which are set out in full in a longer report which we are not able to publish.

Police investigations

We examined the institutional responses of Leicestershire Police and the Crown Prosecution Service in relation to three police investigations that involved allegations against Lord Janner.

Operation Magnolia

Operation Magnolia began in February 2000. The scope of the Operation was to investigate whether there was evidence of physical or sexual abuse of children at The Holt and Ratcliffe Road Children’s Homes between 1980 and 1990. The investigation resulted in no charges being brought against children’s home staff. Officers were regularly abstracted to conduct other unrelated enquiries and Operation Magnolia was generally considered to be under-resourced. During the course of the Operation, allegations against Lord Janner were made but the investigation into those allegations was insufficient and seemingly involved a deliberate decision by Leicestershire Police to withhold key witness statements from consideration by the Crown Prosecution Service.

In March 2000, a former care-home resident, JA-A19, was interviewed by police about his allegations against children’s home staff. At the end of the interview JA-A19 disclosed that he had been sexually abused by Lord Janner, and arrangements were made for JA-A19 to be interviewed about this disclosure. The account he gave was written up into a statement.

The investigation utilised the Home Office Large Major Enquiry System (HOLMES), which meant that all statements and relevant actions should have been entered on to the system. We heard that JA-A19’s Janner statement was seemingly not entered into HOLMES until 8 November 2001. It is unclear what caused such an apparent delay. Although Detective Sergeant (DS) James Wynne (who worked on Operation Magnolia from the outset as an enquiry team supervisor) disputed that delay, he was unable to offer a concrete explanation as to what happened to that statement.

Beyond carrying out some general enquiries, Leicestershire Police failed to properly investigate JA-A19’s allegations against Lord Janner.

In May 2001, JA-A6 was interviewed by officers from Operation Magnolia. He too made an allegation of child sexual abuse against Lord Janner, which was written up into a statement.

Despite this second witness, further investigations in relation to the allegations against Lord Janner very quickly came to a halt. The reason for this is unclear. It was suggested that these further enquiries were out of scope, that the investigation was being wound down, and enquiries that might have been useful were not undertaken. Whatever the reason, it is clear that some officers demonstrated a lack of will to investigate the allegations properly.

On 28 November 2001, a meeting took place between the Leicestershire Crown Prosecution Service reviewing lawyer, Mr Roger Rock, and police officers attached to Operation Magnolia. The case against staff at the children’s homes was discussed but not, it seems, the allegations against Lord Janner. The statements of JA-A19 and JA-A6 were not given to the Crown Prosecution Service. This was a serious and inexcusable failure. If the Crown Prosecution Service had been in possession of these statements it would undoubtedly have triggered some kind of discussion. Acting Detective Inspector (A/DI) Kevin Yates (who was part of the Operation Magnolia investigation team) thought there may have been a positive instruction not to mention Lord Janner to the Crown Prosecution Service. A/DI Yates also thought that the statements themselves were being kept back by the senior investigating officer (SIO), Detective Superintendent (D/Supt) Graham Thomas (now deceased).

There is no evidence that the police were unduly influenced or placed under improper pressure not to pursue the Lord Janner allegations. The outcome, however, was nonetheless the same as if they had been. The crucial statements of JA-A19 and JA-A6 were ‘brushed under the carpet’.

Operation Dauntless

Operation Dauntless was established by Leicestershire Police in May 2006, following JA-A8’s allegation that he had been sexually abused by a number of men, including Lord Janner. Detective Superintendent (D/Supt) Christopher Thomas was appointed SIO and a number of further enquiries took place.

During the course of those further enquiries, the statements of JA-A19 and JA-A6 were located in a locked drawer at Market Harborough Police Station. It became clear to the Operation Dauntless officers that these statements had not been sent to the Crown Prosecution Service during Operation Magnolia and that no follow-up action had taken place. D/Supt Christopher Thomas thought that these statements might be categorised as ‘similar fact’ evidence and could be used to support the allegations made by JA-A8. He told us that he decided to “pause[1] the investigation whilst advice from the Crown Prosecution Service was sought. No check was made to ascertain whether JA-A19 or JA-A6 were still willing to support the police investigation and any potential prosecution. D/Supt Christopher Thomas decided that Lord Janner was not to be arrested or interviewed until the advice from the Crown Prosecution Service had been received, although at least two officers, DS David Swift-Rollinson and DI Kevin Barrs, sought to persuade him that arrest and interview were appropriate. They thought that Lord Janner was being treated differently from a ‘man on the street’.

In any event, in April 2007, a file of evidence was forwarded to Mr Rock at Leicestershire Crown Prosecution Service. Mr Rock did not read it until July of that year and forwarded the file to CPS Headquarters in York the following month. The file did not remain with CPS Headquarters for long and was returned to Mr Rock. A thorough review of the evidence was now a pressing necessity due to the time that had elapsed since April. Due to pressure of work, however, Mr Rock was unable to complete his review and provide advice to the police until 19 December 2007. He concluded that there was not a realistic prospect of conviction and that any further enquiries were unlikely to strengthen the case. He did not advise the police that Lord Janner should be arrested. The advice was not particularly detailed and did not address the possibilities of contacting JA-A19 and JA-A6, which, if pursued, may have materially altered the nature of the case. The police did not seek to challenge the Crown Prosecution Service decision.

Whilst the decision not to charge Lord Janner was not based on his being given preferential treatment, D/Supt Christopher Thomas and Mr Rock appeared reluctant to progress the investigation. Their decisions were unsound and strategically flawed.

The other police investigation

Lord Janner was also investigated during another police investigation but it is not possible for this report to include any detail about this police investigation as to do so would breach the provisions of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992. Conducted by Leicestershire Police, the investigation resulted in no charges being brought against him. Based on the law that was applicable at the time, this decision was not an unreasonable one and we did not think that any improper pressure or influence was brought to bear on those institutions responsible for this decision.

Leicestershire County Council

A number of the complainants who made allegations against Lord Janner were former residents of children’s homes run by Leicestershire County Council. In relation to one complainant, Leicestershire County Council accepted that it knew about Lord Janner’s association with that child. Although there was no evidence that Council staff were aware of allegations of child sexual abuse, some staff were concerned more generally about the association and Leicestershire County Council accepted that it failed to take adequate steps in response to those concerns.

More generally, the Council also accepted that during the 1970s to 1980s it received numerous complaints that children within children’s homes were being physically and sexually abused by individuals including members of children’s home staff. Leicestershire County Council accepted that its procedures for detecting and responding to those allegations were “inadequate[2] and it apologised to those children in its care for the abuse they suffered.

The impact of the backgrounds of the complainants

Complaints of abuse made by children in the care of Leicestershire County Council were not given the attention and respect they deserved. No effort was expended by the Council to assess what risks they and others may have been exposed to over many years. The Council’s duties towards children in its care did not depend on any outcome of criminal proceedings. The duties of a corporate parent do not evaporate because an alleged perpetrator is not prosecuted.

There is a strong suspicion that complainants were ignored in Operation Magnolia because children who had been in care were distrusted and, despite the efforts of some police officers in Operation Dauntless, there appears to have been little enthusiasm for pursuing enquiries. The advice given by the Crown Prosecution Service did not give rise to any confidence in the decision-making processes.

It would be wrong to speculate on the outcome of any trial of Lord Janner. He died before his case came to trial. Fairness to Lord Janner and fairness to the complainants, however, is not a balancing act in which one eclipses the other. The complainants had the right to expect sympathetic treatment and that careful consideration would be given to their allegations. They also had the right to expect thorough investigation of the matters they raised. This did not occur in Operation Magnolia, nor, despite the efforts of the junior officers, in Operation Dauntless. The complainants were failed by these investigations.

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