British peer, 86, to face child-sex charges

Lord Greville Janner, 86, is accused of more than 20 child-sex offences.
Lord Greville Janner, 86, is accused of more than 20 child-sex offences.

LONDON - British prosecutors said an ageing member of the House of Lords will now face criminal action over accusations of serious historical child-sex crimes.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) overturned an earlier decision from April following anger from alleged victims.

Lord Greville Janner, 86, a former Labour member of parliament, is accused of more than 20 offences on former residents of children's homes in the 1970s and 1980s.

In April, Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders said there was evidence to bring charges against the peer, who has always denied any wrongdoing, over 16 allegations of indecent assaults and six other counts.

But she said he was not fit to plead or give evidence because he had severe dementia.

Britain is holding a wide-ranging inquiry into allegations of abuse by highprofile figures including politicians.

Critics said the decision added to a perception the establishment was closing ranks.

Six complainants asked for the matter to be reconsidered using a recently introduced scheme - the Victims' Right to Review - which allows them to have their cases looked at again. That review concluded it was in the public interest for the case to go before the courts.

The Janner case has been listed for Westminster Magistrates' Court on Aug 7. The CPS said it would be for the court to decide whether he should be excused on medical grounds from attending.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 30, 2015, with the headline 'British peer, 86, to face child-sex charges'. Print Edition | Subscribe