Doubts are growing over the severity of Lord Janner’s dementia, after it emerged that he wrote and signed a letter to the House of Lords only two weeks ago. His poor mental health was cited by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Alison Saunders as grounds not to proceed with a trial for 22 counts of historic child abuse.
Lord Janner was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2009. Last October he took a formal leave of absence from the House of Lords. However, on the 9th April this year, he replied to an enquiry from the House of Lords regarding his retirement with a letter which he personally signed.
Labour MP John Mann has told the Express: “I am surprised someone who is able to send a letter on parliamentary business is seen as too demented to stand trial.”
Accusations of an establishment cover-up have also been raised, after it emerged that in the last five years at least 19 men with dementia have been convicted of child sex offences, ten of whom were convicted within the last 12 months.
Peter Saunders of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood said: “This letter is a clear blow to the lie that this man is suffering. If he understands something as important as taking leave from the British legislature then surely he is fit to stand trial.
“It stinks of an Establishment cover-up. There is unease that someone as influential and high profile as Lord Janner will not face trial when Joe Bloggs has.”
Questions were also raised over the decision after it was discovered that Mrs Saunders took advice on the case from a barrister who had connections to Lord Janner’s son. Neil Moore, a principle advisor to the DPP was a colleague of Daniel Janner QC at 23 Essex Street chambers.
Calls have been made for Mrs Saunders to stand down thanks to the weight of criticism over the decision. Labour MP Simon Danczuk has said: “Mrs Saunders is now seen as a roadblock to justice and it’s hard to see how her position remains tenable.”
Hamish Bailey, who has accused Lord Janner of molesting him when he was just 15 said “He has blighted my life… How can [the Crown Prosecution Service] publicise the fact that there was enough evidence to charge, yet then say it is not in the public interest to pursue it?”
The CPS has responded: “In the case of Greville Janner, the evidence that he is unfit to plead was overwhelming and from four different medical experts. There is… no risk of further offending meaning no order would be imposed by any court.”