Child abuse allegations against a senior politician were kept from a lawyer involved in considering whether to prosecute other suspects.
Greville Janner was accused of abusing children in Leicestershire children’s homes but he died in 2015 without facing prosecution. His family have always maintained his innocence.
Following Lord Janner’s death, an official report by a retired High Court judge identified three occasions – in 1991, 2002 and 2007 – when the former Leicester West MP should have been put on trial to face multiple abuse allegations.
This month an inquiry behind closed doors is reviewing the various investigations against him.
One of the witnesses giving evidence on Friday was a former principal crown prosecutor and special casework lawyer of the Crown Prosecution Service, who was involved in both the 2002 and 2007 investigations, which looked at various suspects.
(Image: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)
The witness – who has not been identified – said that despite being the reviewing lawyer for Operation Magnolia, which was active between 2000 and 2002, none of the statements alleging abuse by Lord Janner had been brought to his attention.
It was only during Operation Dauntless about five years later that the allegations against the member of the House of Lords came up.
He said that if the statements had been brought to his attention in 2002, the case “would have taken a totally different course”.
The witness repeated that he was not told of any allegations against Lord Janner, even as an aside. He said: “It simply never happened.”
The witness confirmed that he could not think of any sensible reason why the statements had not been drawn to his attention during Operation Magnolia.
Previous witnesses have alleged that authority figures were involved in trying to prevent the politician being prosecuted.
The witness confirmed that he had advised – based on what he had been told – that no charges should be brought in Operation Magnolia in 2002, partly because some of the suspects were already dead and many of the alleged offences were time-barred.
His advice in September 2002 had the effect of bringing Operation Magnolia to an end.
Five years later, during Operation Dauntless, he was a special casework lawyer at Leicestershire CPS. He confirmed that he received the Operation Dauntless file on April 23, 2007, but did not forward it to CPS headquarters until August.
He said that part of the reason for the delay was that he felt he needed to read it first, but only read it in July. He acknowledged that the delay was “too long”.
The witness confirmed his advice in Operation Dauntless was that there was still insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of a conviction.
Reflecting on Operation Dauntless, the witness said: “I think I can accept that the advice isn’t written as thoroughly as it should have been. I accept that there was a delay in dealing with it.
“The two lawyers I discussed the case with during 2007 took the view that there was not a prospect of conviction.”
The inquiry, which began on Monday, October 12, is expected to last three weeks.
Lord Janner’s family believe he is innocent of all the allegations of wrongdoing.