Lord Janner Abuse Allegations Hearing Postponed

26 July 2016, 15:08 | Updated: 26 July 2016, 15:10

Lord Janner

Hearings into allegations of child sex abuse against Late Leicester MP Lord Greville Janner have been put back until March next year.

Claims against the late politician were originally expected to be aired during inquiry proceedings starting in September.

But Dame Lowell Goddard, who is chairing the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, adjourned the Lord Janner investigation until March 7 at a preliminary hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Tuesday.

She made her ruling after hearing from Ben Emmerson QC, counsel to the inquiry, that a postponement was ``necessary'' in the light of ``two significant changes of circumstances'' since a previous preliminary hearing in March.

The first related to an ongoing criminal investigation being carried out by Leicestershire Police into ``non-recent'' allegations of child sex abuse, and the second to an announcement made ``just this morning'' by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

The police watchdog has told 11 individuals that they are under investigation for both alleged criminal offences and gross misconduct, as part of an inquiry into Leicestershire Police's handling of the claims against Lord Janner.

Mr Emmerson said there were now ``good grounds to reconsider both the timings and structure'' of the Janner strand of the wide-ranging abuse inquiry.

Referring to the Leicestershire Police criminal investigation he said it related to allegations of abuse at the same children's homes ``and at the same time as many of the allegations against Lord Janner that are under investigation by the inquiry''.

He added: ``Indeed, seven of the inquiry's core participants are either complainants or witnesses in that ongoing police investigation.''

An examination of claims linked to Lord Janner is one of 13 investigations launched by the public inquiry, which is set to last for five years.

The peer, who died aged 87 in December, is alleged to have abused children over a period spanning more than 30 years and dating back to the 1950s, with offending allegedly taking place at children's homes and hotels.

The inquiry will consider whether there were institutional failures to protect children, with bodies including Leicestershire County Council, the police and the Labour Party set to come under scrutiny.

A statement issued by Lord Janner's lawyers on Tuesday said: ``Lord Janner was an honourable man, entirely innocent and never convicted of any crime.''