Greville Janner, elevated to the peerage in 1997 as Lord Janner of Braunstone, wherever that might be, and according to his detractors, is a randy old sod. There remains a vociferous minority of ‘informed’ opinion makers who want to persecute him to the grave regardless, and by all accounts, they won’t have long to wait.
You will remember my blog in April (twelve honest men and true) when I praised Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, I think she’s still in post, for her decision not to prosecute Janner because he was too ill to stand trial. I applauded her decision, but the ‘informed’ opinion makers had other ideas, and they persuaded a judge to overturn her decision and proceed to trial.
However, a recent decision by another judge at last shows a measure of compassion and common sense. He ruled Janner is unfit to stand trial to answer historical allegations of sexual abuse because of his advanced dementia. Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t that exactly why Alison Saunders took the decision not to prosecute? Anyway, several months later and at vast expense to the public purse (that’s you and me), four doctors, yes four, two each for the prosecution and the defence, concluded what was blindingly obvious to me and Alison, that Janner’s mental health was so severely impaired that he would be unable to understand what was going on in a courtroom, or anywhere else for that matter.
But it isn’t over yet. Fred Karno’s circus is coming to town. There will have to be a formal hearing, with Counsel for the Prosecution and the Defence putting forward their arguments for not proceeding. The judge will agree. It will then be put to a jury (Gawd help us!) and they too will be expected to agree. I haven’t contemplated what would happen in this freak show if the jury don’t agree, it’s all too ridiculous, but whatever else, in all probability Janner will be put back into his box, and hopefully left alone until the last syllable of recorded time.
It’s all about the quality of mercy. Shakespeare had a thing or two to say about this. Time for the ‘informed’ opinion makers to shut up and listen.