Tuesday, November 02, 2021

"Statements given by the two children against Lord Janner were locked away in a drawer at Market Harborough Police Station"

Embed from Getty Images

What with being a carer and one thing and another, I am finding it harder to be all over the day's news. 

So only today am I blogging about the Independent Inquiry Into  Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) report on institutional responses to allegations of abuse against Greville Janner.

In his report on its publication, which appeared under a headline referring to "cheapskate botched and useless investigations", David Hencke wrote:

The national press and the BBC have rightly highlighted the failures of the police and the council to adequately investigate claims by survivors yet again in cases of historic child sexual abuse.

However it is in the mind blowing detail of the report that exposes how incompetent the police and council were in handling the investigations. It reveals a picture of quarrelling under resourced police officers, hiding of key evidence, and a difference of approach to investigations into a VIP figure, Lord Janner, from other less prominent people.

I was struck by the report's revelation that one of several re-examinations of the treatment of the accusation against Janner, in Hencke's words, found that:

The statements given by the two children against Lord Janner were locked away in a drawer at Market Harborough Police Station.

Those who sought complete openness about what was going on in Leicestershire's children's homes in the 1970s will have been disappointed in the IICSA's publication of its findings on Lord Janner.

The report begins by telling us:

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.

There may well be good reasons for taking those approach. But I have not forgotten that the press had to go to court in 1991 to be allowed to report the trial of  Frank Beck, who was found guilty of the most serious abuse of children in the homes he ran in the county.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Market Harborough statements were not made by children. They were made by adults who decided to claim that Janner had abused them many years previously. There is a difference.

David Hencke had to pay damages to ex Lib Dem MP John Hemming a few years back for airing false allegations against him. Hencke presumably now finds it safer to attack the dead. It's perhaps significant that all the projected claims against Janner's estate fell apart before reaching court.

I always felt that the allegations against Edward Heath and Leon Brittan were almost certainly false, each one more preposterous than the last. With Janner there is at least some room for doubt. It seems to be accepted that he befriended (I use the word neutrally) a boy in a children's home and took him off to London and that social workers were unhappy about this. It's unclear though whether Janner intended to abuse the boy or whether it was a cack-handed attempt to help him, a modern version of Gladstone and prostitutes.

I have a lot of sympathy for Janner's family but I don't think that blank denials are really the answer, they should try to provide some context for what happened.

I do agree that there is an excessive amount of secrecy here. I think it's been claimed that Janner wrote possibly compromising letters to nine boys. If this is true why can't redacted versions of these be published so that people can make up their own minds about the content?