The Henriques Report Contains No Evidence Of An “Establishment Conspiracy.”

 

Two days before the publication of the Henriques Report into the CPS and Leicestershire Police inquiries into allegations against Greville Janner, I took part in a BBC Big Questions debate on whether – in the light of the Janner case – a corpse should be put on trial. As it turned out everyone on the panel seemed to accept, some a bit more reluctantly than others, that perhaps that was going a bit far, so that particular debate never really got off the ground.

What was more striking was that, almost nobody in the room expressed the slightest doubt over the proposition that Lord Janner had been “protected by the establishment.” Anyone making that point, or hinting at it, was guaranteed a thunderous round of applause.

Now I don’t suppose the small Big Questions panel or audience is particularly representative of “ordinary” people. At opposite ends of the front row sat Connie St Louis, the Professor of Journalism who last year purported to expose Tim Hunt as a sexist, a feminist comedian with a well-concealed sense of humour, and Milo Yiannopolous an astonishingly rude controversialist who, appropriately enough, had dyed his hair a striking shade of narcissus for the occasion. The audience moreover, contained one respectable looking woman who turned out during the warm-up session to be a full-on holocaust denier. Anyway, my point is that none of these very different people seemed to doubt for a moment that Janner was protected by some sort of establishment conspiracy.

Put the word “Janner” into any internet search engine and again, back come the results. “Everyone knows” that the “establishment closed ranks” to protect him.

He was investigated for offences against boys three times before he was eventually charged last year: first in 1991, again in 2002 and again in 2007.

In 1991 and 2007 the CPS decided against prosecuting him. In 2002 the relevant evidence was not given to the CPS to make any decision at all. The conventional wisdom is that he was protected by “the establishment.”

Well, we now have the Henriques report which, while it does not purport to answer every question, and certainly does not purport to pass judgement on the truth of the allegations themselves, is the most comprehensive and sober assessment of why Lord Janner was not prosecuted earlier.

Anyone looking for evidence of a conspiracy will struggle to find it in the report. That does not of course mean that they won’t find it: just that it isn’t there. Rather, what emerges is a catalogue of human error, oversights, breakdowns in communication and difficult decisions made in good faith; and although Henriques has tried very hard to avoid doing so, all of this is viewed with the benefit of considerable hindsight.

In 1991 the sole complainant was a man who had been a witness for the defence at the trial of Frank Beck, where his evidence about Janner had been derisively pooh-poohed by the prosecution QC. Henriques says – as Alison Saunders has already said – that he should have been prosecuted then, and would have been had the police carried out a more efficient investigation.

Perhaps he should, but it would be regarded as a relatively weak case even today, and had it gone to trial the CPS would have been mercilessly mocked for asking the jury to convict on the evidence of a single witness whom they themselves had rubbished in court only a few months earlier.

In 2002 a police investigation into alleged misconduct by staff at children’s homes did incidentally obtain a statement making serious allegations against Janner. It was not referred to the CPS. Clearly the police should have done so, and there are a number of questions both about this investigation and the others that are being looked into by the IPCC. It is, of course, not impossible that their inquiries will uncover something worse than inefficiency.

However, even if the statement had been given to the CPS it is most unlikely that it would have led to Janner’s prosecution. We know that because when the CPS did see it, in 2007, along with further allegations, the reviewing lawyer in Leicestershire decided that there was still no realistic prospect of a conviction.

Any “establishment conspiracy” if it existed, must have included this CPS lawyer. He was experienced and well-regarded. Indeed, as Henriques fairly notes, he had “an impeccable reputation for integrity within the CPS and Police.” He was interviewed by Henriques, and to this day he courageously maintains that he took the correct decision, on the basis of the evidence that he then had, and the CPS guidelines which were then in force. He also discussed the case with the Chief Crown Prosecutor for Leicestershire, and she, it seems, agreed with him.

It may well be that Henriques is right, and the reviewing lawyer took the wrong decision. It may well be that he made a mistake in not referring the case to higher authority within the CPS (it certainly would have “covered his back” had he done so). Human error is inevitable in any system. But are we really to believe that this hitherto decent and honourable man was part of some over-arching conspiracy, or that for some reason he took it upon himself to protect Lord Janner from prosecution in the face of overwhelming evidence? There is nothing in Henriques’s report which suggests anything of the sort.

Prosecutorial decisions can be very difficult. A failed prosecution where the evidence is not there does not help real victims, it simply ensures that they are disbelieved. Prosecutors have a duty only to bring cases where they honestly believe that a conviction is more likely than not. This experienced prosecutor thought that that test was not met. Henriques has criticised him for his judgement. He has not criticised his integrity and he was right not to do so.

None of this, sadly, will shut up the conspiracists. Snippets of the report will be quoted out of context. Rumours will continue to be treated as fact. The antisemitic websites will continue to churn out breathtakingly repulsive nonsense – the Rothschilds, the “illuminati” and the “Zionists” will continue to be blamed – and some of this bile will continue to seep into the mainstream.

And sadly when the dust settles on the Henriques Report, “everyone” will still know that Janner was guilty. “Everyone” will continue to believe that the only reason he was not prosecuted was because “the establishment” protected him. The fact that the Henriques Report gives no support at all to any such suggestion will soon be forgotten.

 

(This article first appeared in the Daily Telegraph 20th January 2016)

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Author: Matthew

I have been a barrister for over 25 years, specialising in crime. You may also have come across some of my articles I have written on legal issues for The Times, Standpoint, Daily Telegraph or Criminal Law & Justice Weekly

8 thoughts on “The Henriques Report Contains No Evidence Of An “Establishment Conspiracy.””

  1. I don’t think the vital question is whether or not the person is or is not protected by the establishment but how it comes about that certain persons get away with continual rape and sexual abuse of others over a 40 year period (as in Savile) and the continued inability of the average UK person to be able to spot a psychopath. If we put these two factors together maybe we might be able to determine how and why these creatures are allowed to roam freely.

  2. If Greville Janner was not “protected by the Establishment”, it seems a remarkable coincidence that 20 different alleged victims all failed to show police or CPS enough evidence even to bring charges.
    Of course they were all obscure nobodies and he was an MP and then a peer.
    Read the accounts of the trial of Frank Beck and also the reminiscences of lawyer Giovanni De Stefano.

    How often have we read that phrase “the CPS decided not to pursue a prosecution”?

  3. As someone with an interest in family law I often come across allegations of conspiracies and frequently fall foul of the conspiracy theorists when I fail to be impressed by their “evidence”. What they do not realise is that to run an effective conspiracy requires a lot of people to abandon any professional integrity they may have had and would require considerable organisation and planning. Most of the alleged conspiracists simply aren’t capable of that. An interesting article here: http://childprotectionresource.online/the-children-act-1989-deeply-flawed-legislation/ shows that something can superficially look like a conspiracy without actually being one. Sometimes it is necessary to search for an alternative explanation, and what is usually found is the familiar “catalogue of human error, oversights, breakdowns in communication and difficult decisions made in good faith”.

  4. No, you are totally wrong, there was a cover-up’. A former director of public prosecutions has said he was “never informed” about an investigation into historical child sex allegations against former Labour MP Lord Janner. Lord Macdonald QC said it was of “great regret” that regional Crown Prosecution Service lawyers had failed to refer the case to him in 2007.

    Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme today, Lord Macdonald said he had never been notified about the 2007 police investigation, for reasons which he “did not understand”.
    “It was apparently a serious police investigation, and it should have been absolutely clear to the lawyers in Leicestershire that this case ‘should have been sent to London’.

    “I would have undoubtedly taken a look at it personally, and would have undoubtedly myself have considered the question as to whether or not Lord Janner should be charged, and I very much regret that that didn’t happen.” . Ken Macdonald QC was director of public prosecutions at the time of a 2007 police investigation into Lord Janner

    1. I wouldn’t take failure to refer a case to the DPP as evidence of a conspiracy. That means assuming the Leicestershire CPS were for some reason deliberately protecting Janner. What possible reason could they have for risking their careers and reputations in order to protect a long since ex-politician?

  5. The Henriques report is most interesting and, as one would expect from its author, very carefully drafted and, of course, it deals with the evidence made available to his inquiry. After Becks’ trial there was this scene in the House of Commons – (video linked to the article) – and it shows how many MPs jumped to support Janner at the time. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/11542572/How-Keith-Vaz-and-other-MPs-campaigned-for-change-in-the-law-after-wicked-attack-on-Greville-Janner.html

  6. Basically, what sort of evidence of an “Establishment Conspiracy” would you expect there to be?
    A file on the shelves of Scotland Yard or the CPS labelled “establishment conspiracy”?
    Letters, signed and dated, saying, “Let’s hush this up”?
    No conspiracy or blind-eye policy leaves a paper trail if it can help it.

  7. The problem, we members of the public have with all of these things is the regularity of them allegedly happening, and the fact,as with expenses issues and the like, we see that many of our MP’s appear to be dishonest.Many of us believe that the system is dishonest.Our supposed free press is a complete waste of time and part of the cover up culture too.They are in cohorts with the people in power, as they want some power too.
    I will never understand how,to the best of my knowledge,not one person involved with saville has been brought to book.
    Nurses, doctors, other officials must have had an idea of what was going on in hospitals,prisons etc.Not one, to my knowledge,to date, brought to justice.In my opinion a total failure of the judicial system.

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