Lord Greville Janner from the U.K.’s Labour Party will face prosecution for child sex offenses, the country’s most senior prosecutor Alison Saunders said Monday, according to reports. The decision follows widespread outrage over a previous ruling from her in April that argued the 86-year-old Janner was too ill to stand trial, despite “sufficient evidence to prosecute.”
An independent review recommended that the original review from Saunders be overruled even as calls for her resignation continue. Janner, a Member of Parliament for 27 years, has denied any wrongdoing and his family have supported his claim. However, prosecutors have charged him with 22 counts of sexual abuse committed between the 1960s and 1980s, including assault on children below 16 years of age at a local children’s home. The review by David Perry QC concluded that the case should be brought in front of a criminal court in the public interest, the Daily Mail reported.
“I accept the outcome of the review and will now be bringing this prosecution to allow for that adjudication to happen," specialist abuse lawyer Liz Dux, who represents several of the victims, said, according to the Telegraph, adding: "This is a vindication of our efforts to challenge the DPP's (director of public prosecutions) original decision not to charge Janner, which was clearly not in the interest of justice. Our clients have waited long enough for their very serious allegations to be brought before a court.
"They have felt deeply frustrated by the criminal justice system. However, this decision has given them more hope of finally establishing the truth. It may be long overdue, but we will now look to a criminal court to examine the case and make a finding of fact."
During the April ruling, Saunders said that because Janner had dementia, it was not in the public interest to charge Janner. The move was widely challenged and triggered calls for her to step down. However, Saunders has said she will not resign.
“I don’t think this is a decision I should resign over. It is one I took very carefully and with the victims at the heart of that,” she said, according to the Guardian, adding that it was her decision to refer her ruling to an independent lawyer for review.
“I have always said that in my view this was an extremely difficult and borderline case because of the strong arguments on both sides. However, the review has concluded that this forum, albeit a public one, cannot substitute for the adjudication of the courts. I accept the outcome of the review and will now be bringing this prosecution to allow for that adjudication to happen,” Saunders said, according to the Guardian.
The case against Janner will begin hearing on Aug. 7 and a statement from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said, according to the Guardian: “The director of public prosecutions Alison Saunders will now bring criminal proceedings against Greville Janner for child sex offences. This follows a review of the case under the recently introduced CPS victims’ right to review scheme, which allows victims to have their cases looked at again, no matter who in the CPS made the original decision not to prosecute.”