Janner speaks for the first time (August 2) and Janner on Goddard for the JC by Jenni Frazer August 5 2016
The son and daughters of the late Lord Janner have spoken out for the first time this week of the “incredible support” they have received from the Jewish community in the wake of claims of historic sexual abuse allegedly perpetrated by the peer. Lord Janner died in December 2015, after suffering from dementia.
Speaking exclusively to the JC, Daniel Janner QC described “incredible unswerving support” from the community. He singled out the Holocaust Educational Trust, which Lord Janner founded, as “superb — like all the community bodies”.
The Janner siblings, after months of silence as the allegations against their late father mounted, have now come out fighting. Both Daniel Janner and his sister Marion, a mental health campaigner awarded the OBE for her work, have, for the first time, given television and press interviews. Their sister, Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, senior rabbi of the Reform Movement, is said to have received sterling support from both rabbinical and lay leaders in the movement.
Commenting on the family’s change of tactic, Daniel Janner said: “When the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP Alison Saunders) announced her [original] decision not to prosecute Dad in April 2015, we were not surprised, but we were astonished by the outcry. We immediately put out a statement saying that he was entirely innocent, but we were caught in a media and national frenzy, and there was nothing more we could do”.
The DPP, bowing to public pressure, changed her mind and Lord Janner, accompanied by his daughter, Marion, with whom he lived until his death in December last year, was forced to come to court to identify himself. Plainly unsure of what he was doing or where he was, the elderly peer, in what became his last public appearance, just managed to agree with court officials that he was Lord Janner of Braunstone before leaving the courtroom after the briefest of appearances.
His son took up the narrative. He told the JC: “Then [when Lord Janner was still alive] we were faced with criminal proceedings, where you can’t say anything. But now, we can speak, based on solid evidence which we now have”.
The barrister said: “Now is the right time for us to speak out. Another reason is that the Goddard Inquiry has taken our father’s [case] as a separate strand — he is the only named individual in the 13 separate lines of inquiry, all the rest are institutions. That is wholly obscene and wrong. He is not an institution and he has never been convicted”. New Zealand judge Dame Lowell Goddard is chairing the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, announced by then Home Secretary Theresa May in July 2014.
The family had declined to become “core participants” in the Goddard Inquiry, Mr Janner told the JC, “because that would be a manifestation of the witch-hunt frenzy” which had attended the issue. Besides, he said: “As core participants we would have no right or opportunity to cross-examine [witnesses].”
He charged the Goddard Inquiry of “approaching this case [of allegations against Lord Janner] on the assumption of guilt. So how can there be fairness, not least when he is dead? We are having nothing to do with this obscenity”.
It is understood that some of the “solid evidence” on which the family is relying is material unearthed by the journalist David Rose and published at the weekend in the Mail on Sunday. In his investigative article, Rose said that the principal complainant against Lord Janner was a former children’s home resident had “made bogus claims that he was sexually abused by a woman at the care home where he lived”.
This man, whose claims against the woman care home worker were dismissed as false, was, for many years, the only accuser against Lord Janner, although there are now said to be 33 people alleging sexual abuse by the peer. Daniel Janner told the JC: “All the indications which we have are that those intending to sue [for financial compensation against Lord Janner’s estate] have that as their motivation.”
Legal experts told the Mail on Sunday that “the fact that the accuser made bogus sexual allegations against Mrs Fitt [the care home worker], at the same time as he first accused Janner, might have played an important part in the initial decision by the Crown Prosecution Service not to charge the MP and peer as a child abuser”. The family have repeatedly insisted in Lord Janner’s innocence and have rejected “Establishment cover-up” as a reason for the former MP not to have been charged in 1991, when the matter first surfaced. Rather, say the Janners, there was no evidence against him.
The accuser himself, according to the Mail on Sunday, was convicted of multiple offences of sexual assault against underage boys in 2001, jailed for four years and placed on the Sex Offender Register for ten years.
Daniel Janner, in his interview with the Sunday Times, revealed that Leicestershire Police had twice asked him if he had ever been sexually abused by his father. It was a “disgusting” claim which he utterly rejected, telling the police that he had had “a wonderful childhood” and that all three children had admired and loved their father.
Mr Janner told the JC: “I don’t say that the accusers have been driven by antisemitism, but the issue has been used and stirred up by viral antisemitism. This case has been an antisemites’ paradise.”
He paid tribute to the “wonderful support” from the community; his own rabbi, David Mason of Muswell Hill, had been “a brick”. “There has been enormous appreciation of my father — and as a family we have pulled together and grown in strength. Knowing the truth as we do has given us enormous strength to fight back. We are not beleaguered: we are empowered.”
he barrister son of the late Lord Janner has described the Goddard Inquiry into child sex abuse as “a legal Titanic, without a captain”.
Daniel Janner QC revealed that he had been ready to call for the resignation of Dame Lowell Goddard, who resigned as chair of the inquiry on Thursday, after the New Zealand judge had refused his request to adjourn the part of the inquiry relating to Lord Janner, pending civil proceedings.
Mr Janner told the JC: “Despite her resignation, we are obviously going to continue to do everything we can to clear our father’s name. And these obscene proceedings in the Goddard inquiry have been part of the problem.
“We trust that whoever replaces her will reconsider the decision to carry out a proxy prosecution against my late father, to satisfy a media frenzy.
“The idea of staging a ‘finding of facts’ was repugnant, compounded by a failure to have these false, wicked allegations [against Lord Janner] cross-examined”.
The QC said that the decision to examine the allegations against Lord Janner as a separate strand within the Goddard Inquiry was “misconceived, and should be withdrawn”. The terms of the inquiry, as originally set up, he said, were to examine the failings of institutions in not preventing child sexual abuse. “My father is not, and was not, an institution, and this should never have happened,” Mr Janner said. “We trust that whoever takes over from Goddard will re-examine this, and understand that it was a huge mistake to deal with his case in this way.”
Mr Janner added: “It’s not rocket science that Dad was not prosecuted in the 90s. He wasn’t prosecuted because there was no compelling evidence”.
Dame Lowell’s decision to devote a separate strand of the inquiry to the allegations against Lord Janner was “wholly wrong”, Mr Janner said. “This is now new territory, and we are looking at a legal Titanic, without a captain”.