It’s what some might call a ‘happy coincidence’: Reports emerged that the decision not to prosecute former politician Greville Janner for alleged historic child sex offences, at almost the same time comedian Adam Hills was raging about the way politicians have been able to cover up such activities in the past.
The rant, on Channel 4’s The Last Leg, was well worth seeing. For those who missed it, here it is, but be warned – he uses extremely strong language:
In Janner’s case, we are told a barrister has spent several weeks examining the evidence as part of an independent review, and has concluded there should be a hearing of the allegations. A decision, expected next week, would overturn the Crown Prosecution Service’s decision in April not to pursue the peer, who is said to have dementia.
The move would put pressure on the Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, to resign. She was criticised after it emerged that several other alleged paedophiles who have been diagnosed with dementia have still been pursued through the courts, and a review of the decision was announced last month.
The evidence could be tested in a criminal court in a ‘trial of facts’. The judge would declare at the outset that Janner is unfit for trial, but then ask a jury to decide – on the basis of the evidence – whether he committed the acts of which he has been accused.
There could be no verdict that he is guilty and no criminal sentence – but the jury could make a hospital order, a supervision order or an order for the defendant’s absolute discharge. This would be in order to protect the public, although it is unlikely that Janner is capable of any misdeeds in his condition.
This raises an interesting question: Can we have a ‘trial of facts’ in the cases of other MPs, against whom allegations have been made but who cannot – for many reasons – be punished?
The Blog has no intention of making unsupportable allegations but there are many questions hanging over the name Leon Brittan that deserve to be resolved – along with many others.
While the public may not need to be protected from them – especially if they are dead – isn’t there an argument to be made that they should not be held up as a good example to others, if the allegations about them are true?
Does anybody agree?
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