Given that Alison Saunders, the DPP, consulted with Neil Moore QC during the CPS investigation and that Neil Moore has a professional relationship with Daniel Janner QC, Lord Janner’s son, and that Leicestershire Police have said that they raised concerns about this arrangement, I wonder if it really is in the interests of transparency for the CPS not to name the QC reviewing the DPP’s decision not to prosecute Lord Janner ?
A senior QC is to review the controversial decision of Britain’s top prosecutor not to charge Lord Janner over alleged child sex crimes, it was announced today.
In a move that could overturn the block on court action, the Crown Prosecution Service said that the QC, who has had no previous involvement with the case, has been hired to give an independent assessment in response to a request by alleged victims of the peer.
The unnamed barrister will decide whether Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, was right to rule that it would not be in the public interest to charge the former Labour MP because of his increasingly severe dementia.
Ms Saunders has insisted that her decision – which has prompted criticism from victims’ groups, MPs and others – was justified because Lord Janner is too ill to stand trial and because there are no sanctions that could be imposed on him following a prosecution.
But if the QC decides that her assessment was wrong, the DPP’s decision will be reversed in a change that would result in the peer facing charges for alleged sex crimes committed over several decades.
Announcing the decision to hire the QC, who is not being named until after their assessment of the Janner case is completed, the Crown Prosecution Service said the move was in line a “right to review” policy introduced in 2013.
It allows any alleged victim to request a review of a prosecution decision not to charge the suspect in their case.
Such reviews are normally carried out internally, but the CPS said today that the exceptional circumstances of the Janner case had led it to hire a senior QC from outside the organisation to examine the DPP’s ruling.
A CPS spokeswoman said: “The CPS Victims’ Right to Review scheme was set up to give complainants the ability to ask the CPS to review its decisions – usually when there has been a decision not to prosecute.
“The CPS has been asked to invoke this process in the case of Lord Janner and that review is now taking place. This review would normally be done by the CPS Appeals Unit. However, due to the unique circumstances surrounding this case, the CPS has instructed external counsel instead.”
CPS guidelines say that such reviews should normally take around 30 days, but that longer could be required in more complex cases.