All Parliamentary candidates have the same access to Government offices as MPs.
I have used this privilege to write about the failure of the CPS to bring Greville Janner to court.
I would like to see this argument taken up by the media, but paradoxically, candidates cannot access the media during the election period, because the other candidates will object of unfair coverage.
To get round this I am inviting the other candidates in Weston (Lab, Libdem, Con and UKIP) to copy this letter, send it to the Attorney General, and then we can publicise what we have done together. It will help the cause of justice, and also raise the profile of Weston super Mare.
So, Tim, John, John and Ernie - are you with me on this?
Use the comments slot below.
See my Wiki on child abuse by VIPs here.
Attorney General’s Office
19 April, 2015
Dear Attorney General
Reference: CPS decision on Lord Janner of Blackstone
I write in my capacity as a potential Member of Parliament to challenge the decision of the DPP, Alison Saunders, not to prosecute Lord Janner for alleged crimes, namely 16 indecent assaults between 1969 and 1988, and 6 counts of buggery on under aged boys between 1972 and 1988.
I have read the CPS’ justification for their decision here http://cps.gov.uk/news/latest_news/lord_janner/.
Please do not refer this letter downwards to the CPS, and please do not treat it as a complaint against the CPS. I have been in lengthy correspondence with the CPS and have used their complaint service already, and I have no confidence in their decisions and processes, for the reasons set out below. I wish to challenge the judgment of the DPP directly. This is now a matter for the Chief Law Officer.
Alison Saunders in her justification document accepts that the evidential basis for a criminal prosecution of Janner is sound. However, she argues that there is no public interest in prosecuting him because he is unfit to plead.
She bases this argument on the evidence of four medical experts who agree that he has dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease, and that they have “general agreement” as to the level of cognitive ability on a Mini Mental State examination.
However, there is no reference to any brain scan having been carried our. If scans were performed but reports on the scans were left out of the CPS justification document, there has been a failure of due diligence in reporting, and Saunders should be rebuked.
If on the other hand brain scans on Janner were not performed, there has been serious negligence. In my extensive correspondence with the CPS on this case I explicitly requested several times that brain scans should be carried out, because they give objective evidence that goes far beyond medical history taking and examination. If they were not carried out Saunders should be invited to consider her position.
If we accept for the sake of argument that Janner is indeed suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, there are three precedents where paedophiles have been tried and convicted of sexual crimes against children. The names are David Massingham, John Hayford and Michael Collingwood. I can supply references if requested, but the CPS should be able to find them.
Either Alison Saunders knew of these cases and negligently failed to deal with them in her report, or she did not know of them, in which case there was a failure of due diligence as a lawyer.
There is no provision in the CPS Code of Practice to exempt people with dementia from facing trial. In the absence of such provision, but in the presence of sufficient evidential basis to proceed, Alison Saunders has used the public interest test.
Now clearly there is a major public interest in bringing to court people who are abused of serious sexual crimes against children, especially children who for one reason or another were in the care of public organisations.
First, sexual abuse has a devastating effect on the subsequent lives of survivors of abuse, and there is a need to demonstrate that society will not tolerate child abuse, even if carried out by VIPs.
Second, the Law itself comes into disrepute if there is a public perception that VIP status confers immunity against justice. You must be aware that already there exists a common perception that this is the case. This view is particularly prevalent in the community of survivors of sexual abuse. If Janner escapes trial, this perception will increase, both among survivors and among the general public. It is not in the public interest for there to be a perception that there is one law for the rich, another for the poor.
Against these two major public interest arguments, the CPS advances the minor public interest argument that money spent in bringing Janner to court could be wasted as he is likely to be judged unfit to plead. This argument is extremely weak. The expenditure would be trivial in comparison with other cases that have failed.
The precedents referred to above are worthy of being considered in court.
Most importantly, a major legal argument needs to be entertained, namely whether a person who passes the evidential test but who might not be fit to plead for reasons of dementia should be tried as if in absentia.
The defence could test the evidence given by Janner’s alleged victims. His accusers could be invited to ask if they can positively identify him, possibly by reference to body characteristics such as moles.
It should be noted also that in coming to her conclusion, Saunders rejected advice of one of UK’s principal authorities on sex offences. Eleanor Laws QC, leading counsel to Leicestershire police’s investigation into Janner, recommended that he be put on trial despite his age and dementia.
In the light of this, the DPP must have consulted with other people in coming to her decision. The names of these people, the advice they gave, and the degree of pressure that they put on the DPP should be made clear to the public.
In conclusion, let me summarise the questions I am raising:
1. The question of whether or not scans have been carried out must be settled.
2. The question of precedents must be considered.
3. The question of public interest, major and minor, needs to be reviewed.
4. Who gave advice to the DPP to persuade her to come to her conclusion?
I look forward to a timely response to all the points made in this letter.
Dr Richard Lawson
MB BS, MRCPsych
Parliamentary Candidate, Weston Constituency, Green Party