I TOLD YOU SO

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.

IT BEGGARS BELIEF

It’s enough to make strong men weep. A 91 year old man living with his cat Fluffy was forcibly removed from his home where he had lived for over 50 years and locked in a dementia unit against his wishes by his caring social services of Essex Council.  And to add insult to injury, Essex Council had the temerity to charge him £25,000 for the privilege.

Fortunately for him, but not before 18 months of incarceration, his friend raised the alarm and he was rescued.  The judge who heard the case was scathing in his criticism of the Council’s conduct, which they sought to justify to the bitter end.  The elderly gentleman’s pleas to be allowed to return home fell on deaf ears, giving rise to a comment from the judge that the Council’s conduct was nothing short of reprehensible.  Whilst at the age of 91, being incarcerated for 18 months must have seemed an eternity, the Council was required to pay him £60,000 in damages, which no doubt will come out of their budget as provided by the taxpayer.  The sad reality is that nobody on the Council was prepared to take any of the blame, as in their book, there was no blame to take.

Over the years, I have done my best to defend Social Services from their catatonic mistakes on the basis they they have to make decisions that will affect the welfare of many in their care.  You will remember not so long ago the catalogue of mistakes relating to vulnerable children, where Social Services failed to act despite the clearest warning signs, and the children died horrible deaths.  In their defence, such as it was, they saw nothing to arouse their suspicions.  It beggars belief.

The good news for those of us nudging at the margins of advancing years is that the Social Services cannot simply walk into our homes and march us off to the twilight home for the bewildered. They need a court order, and we are entitled to be legally represented and to be heard.  So if some Gauleiter comes knocking at your door, tell her to get stuffed with my compliments. As somebody once said: “Don’t let the buggers get you down!”