Greville Janner, British Leader Accused of Child Abuse, Dies at 87
LONDON – British peer Greville Janner, a prominent campaigner for Holocaust victims who was later accused of child sex abuse, has died aged 87, British media reported on Saturday.
Janner, a former member of parliament for the Labour Party for almost 30 years and ex-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, was best-known for his calls for reparations for families of thousands of Jews who fled Nazi persecution in World War Two.
“The passing of Greville Janner marks the end of an era for the Jewish community,” Mick Davis, chairman of the Jewish Leadership Council, said on Twitter.
Janner had long faced accusations of child sex crimes and was the subject of three investigations between 1991 and 2007.
He denied the allegations, but Britain’s Director of Public Prosecutions said in April both prosecutors and police had made mistakes in not acting against him sooner.
Earlier this month, a London High Court judge ruled that Janner, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, was too ill to stand trial over 22 charges of indecent assault and other sex crimes, concluding months of legal argument over the peer’s mental health.
However, a “trial of the facts” had been due to take place in his absence in April, when a jury could decide whether Janner did in fact commit the abuse, but with no finding of guilt or conviction over the allegations by former residents of children’s homes in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
“The alleged victims of Janner are devastated that having waited so long for justice, it’s likely to be denied to them at the final hurdle,” Liz Dux, the lawyer for some of his accusers wrote on Twitter.
In a statement, his family said he was a man of “great integrity” and “entirely innocent of any wrongdoing,” the BBC reported.
Janner was one of a number of prominent figures in British life to have been accused of historical sex abuse crimes in recent years.
Following a series of scandals involving high-profile people in media and politics, the government last year ordered an inquiry into what had happened and whether powerful figures covered it up.
Many of the claims came to light after revelations that BBC TV presenter Jimmy Savile had abused hundreds of victims over decades.