Jan­ner is in­no­cent says son, ‘and I can prove it’

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - IN­TER­VIEW DANIEL JAN­NER BY JENNI FRAZER

A THIS home in north Lon­don, Daniel Jan­ner sits in front of a bulging file filled to the brim with in­for­ma­tion about the sex abuse al­le­ga­tions against his fa­ther, the late Lord Jan­ner.

The case has been tough for Mr Jan­ner and his fam­ily, and he ad­mits he “can’t let it go”.

To date, 33 sep­a­rate al­le­ga­tions of his­tor­i­cal child sex­ual abuse have been made against the peer, who died in De­cem­ber 2015 af­ter suf­fer­ing from Alzheimer’s dis­ease. The In­de­pen­dent In­quiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA) is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the claims.

The Jan­ner fam­ily — Daniel and his sis­ters, Laura Jan­ner-Klaus­ner, Se­nior Rabbi of the Re­form Move­ment, and Marion Jan­ner, a men­tal health cam­paigner — in­sist their fa­ther was “en­tirely in­no­cent of any wrong­do­ing”.

Mr Jan­ner is by turns pas­sion­ate and an­gry, and warmly sym­pa­thetic when he speaks about his fa­ther and the al­le­ga­tions against him.

A QC — who is him­self act­ing as de­fence coun­sel in a his­tor­i­cal sex­ual abuse case this week — he says he copes with the trauma the fam­ily has suf­fered by treat­ing the claims against his fa­ther as “just an­other case,” be­fore quickly ac­knowl­edg­ing: “But, of course, it’s not just an­other case”.

He de­scribes the IICSA, now on its fourth chair­man, as “sham­bolic and dis­cred­ited” and “a na­tional joke ”. The only rea­son it has not been kicked into the dust­bin of his­tory, he claims, is be­cause it was set up by Theresa May when she was Home Sec­re­tary in 2014.

When the al­le­ga­tions were made pub­lic against their much-loved grand­fa­ther, the younger mem­bers of the­fam­ily were dis­traught, he says. “Why aren’t peo­ple speak­ing out more for him ,” one of the grand­chil­dren asked.

Mr J ann er is confident that the Jewish com­mu­nity — par­tic­u­larly the Holo­caust Ed­u­ca­tional Trust and the Com­mon­wealth Jewish Coun­cil, both of which were founded by Lord Jan­ner, and the Board of Deputies, where he was pres­i­dent from 1979 to 1985 — will an­swer the fam­ily’s call to mark his life in a for­mal way.

“We have had tremen­dous sup­port from the com­mu­nity,” Mr Jan­ner says, “and I am cer­tain that or­gan­i­sa­tions such as HET would be ready to par­tic­i­pate in a me­mo­rial ser­vice for my fa­ther and to es­tab­lish an an­nual HET lec­ture in his name.

“He was the great­est com­mu­nal leader the coun­try has ever known, and that needs to be recog­nised”.

In­ter­est­ingly, the HET did not re­spond to two re­quests for a com­ment.

The defin­ing char­ac­ter­is­tic of Gre­ville Jan­ner was, says his son, “loy­alty and a fight for jus­tice. That was his whole be­ing, some­thing he fought for all his life. Dad would never have mis­placed the trust of the com­mu­nity. He was a won­der­ful fa­ther and a won­der­ful hus­band — and he was in­no­cent.”

An­ti­semitism may have had a role to play in the sit­u­a­tion the fam­ily have found them­selves in, he be­lieves.

Hard-core an­ti­semites “love the ‘Jew­paedo’ theme,” he says. “You only need to look at Twit­ter to see how they have used this against us. An­ti­semites and anti-Zion­ists are us­ing it as a weapon”.

But he sug­gests the new com­plainants who have made al­le­ga­tions against his fa­ther are mo­ti­vated not by an­ti­semitism, but by greed.

The al­le­ga­tions have been made “with the in­ten­tion of mak­ing fraud­u­lent claims for com­pen­sa­tion”, he says, adding that the fam­ily have seen both ev­i­dence of col­lu­sion among the com­plainants and ev­i­dence of com­plainants mak­ing false ac­cu­sa­tions against oth­ers, as well as com­plainants who are re­ported as hav­ing crim­i­nal con­vic­tions.

He adds: “Of course, I am fo­cus­ing on Dad’s strand and on get­ting that re­moved from the in­quiry, be­cause its re­main­ing there is a stain on the cred­i­bil­ity of the whole thing.

“But there are gen­uine com­plainants — and the in­quiry as presently con­sti­tuted risks un­der­min­ing the in­tegrity of these gen­uine vic­tims of abuse”.

This week, the Jan­ner fam­ily were granted “core par­tic­i­pa­tion sta­tus” in the in­quiry, some­thing they had cam­paigned for.

In a state­ment, the sib­lings said the move would “fi­nally en­able our fam­ily to ex­press our out­rage that the in­quiry has se­lected our in­no­cent late fa­ther as a sep­a­rate strand of his own, es­pe­cially given that all the other strands are about in­sti­tu­tions.”

Re­spond­ing to the de­ci­sion, Mr Jan­ner says the fam­ily is tak­ing core par­tic­i­pa­tion sta­tus, “not to le­git­imise the process, but it en­ables us to in­ten­sify our whole­hearted op­po­si­tion to this un­just strand and to fight this in­iq­ui­tous in­quiry, both out­side and also within it.” The fam­ily also want to take part in the civil case brought by the com­plainants — “we will cross-ex­am­ine them, and we will win,” says Mr Jan­ner. The al­le­ga­tions against Lord Jan­ner of Braun­stone, who was made a Labour peer by Tony Blair in 1997, date back to 1991. The then Gre­ville Jan­ner was an MP for Le­ices­ter West, a seat he held be­tween 1970 and 1997. As Mr Jan­ner re­counts, the ini­tial al­le­ga­tions were made by Frank Beck, “a man who was to be con­victed of very se­ri­ous sex­ual of­fences. He col­luded with a young man, whom we looked af­ter as a fam­ily, to make false and fraud­u­lent al­le­ga­tions against my late fa­ther, to make a false de­fence at trial. “Both the young man, ‘W’, and Beck were cross-ex­am­ined by the pros­e­cu­tion and they were dis­be­lieved at trial. Beck was con­victed and got three life sen­tences.” To­gether with two other men, “W” re­newed his al­le­ga­tions in 2004 and 2007. Mr Jan­ner says: “Those al­le­ga­tions were looked into by the CPS and the po­lice and were promptly dis­counted. That is the case. Since 2013, there

has been an ever in­creas­ing num­ber of false com­plainants who have been seek­ing what is known in prison cul­ture as ‘compo’ — com­pen­sa­tion — against a per­son who is vul­ner­a­ble be­cause they are ill, or dead.”

All the al­le­ga­tions come from Le­ices­ter, which, says Mr Jan­ner, is sus­pect in it­self “as my fa­ther looked af­ter men and women, em­ploy­ing them as re­search as­sis­tants, of­ten in the com­mu­nity [in Lon­don] for his whole life.

“The 1991 and the 2004 and 2007 al­le­ga­tions re­late to when he was an MP and the three of them [his first ac­cusers] were in care homes.

“Now, of course, the al­le­ga­tions be­come wilder and more ex­ag­ger­ated and go beyond when he was an MP”.

Frank Beck died in prison in 1994 but “W”, the prin­ci­pal ac­cuser, was con­victed of pae­dophilia in 2001 and given a four-year prison sen­tence.

Sep­a­rately, says Mr Jan­ner, “he made al­le­ga­tions of hav­ing been sex­u­ally abused in Scot­land but in March 2016 the Scot­tish au­thor­i­ties threw these claims out.

“‘W’ also made al­le­ga­tions against Bar­bara Fitt, a care worker in one of the Le­ices­ter care homes, that she had sex­u­ally abused him. She vig­or­ously de­nied these al­le­ga­tions and has now died. ‘W’ is a very bad per­son. He is now in his 50s; he and the other orig­i­nal two made out­ra­geous al­le­ga­tions [against Lord Jan­ner] which were patently false”.

Lord Jan­ner, when still an MP, had ro­bustly re­but­ted the 1991 al­le­ga­tions against him, but by the time the re­newed al­le­ga­tions arose in 2013 he was suf­fer­ing from se­vere de­men­tia. The re­tired High Court judge Sir Richard Hen­riques was asked by the CPS to con­duct an in­de­pen­dent in­quiry into the han­dling of al­le­ga­tions; he con­cluded that a de­ci­sion not to charge him in 1991 was wrong and that there was suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence against him to ar­rest him in 2007. How­ever, Mr Jan­ner now says that Sir Richard was “not in pos­ses­sion of all the facts. He didn’t know about ‘W’s’ con­vic­tions, or about his false al­le­ga­tions against Bar­bara Fitt. Sir Richard told the Mail on Sun­day that the false claims against Mrs Fitt should have fig­ured in the 1991 charg­ing de­ci­sion. When the al­le­ga­tions sur­faced in 1991, they were greeted by the Jan­ner fam­ily “with to­tal dis­be­lief. As my fa­ther said, there was not a shred of ev­i­dence, not a shred of doubt. We knew they would be thrown out, which they were. “We never thought about it again, un­til 2013 when his home was searched — by which time he had Alzheimer’s.” He was dy­ing, says his son, and could not de­fend him­self. “Af­ter the Jimmy Sav­ile case, the po­lice and the CPS were caught in a per­fect storm, and have changed their ap­proach so that a ‘vic­tim’ is al­ways be­lieved. They don’t carry out any as­sess­ments, to find out about a com­plainant’s pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions, for ex­am­ple. They just say, let the courts sort it out — which is why the courts are so backed up now. “The ‘ev­i­dence’ is now the al­le­ga­tion”. But for Sav­ile, Mr Jan­ner be­lieves, the re­newed al­le­ga­tions against his fa­ther would never have sur­faced — or been given cre­dence.

But there had been a “na­tional frenzy” in the wake of the Sav­ile case — and “po­lice of­fi­cers who be­lieve al­le­ga­tions, no mat­ter how hor­rific they are — and the al­le­ga­tions against my late fa­ther are of the most hor­ren­dous kind, vi­cious and sadis­tic.”

He likens what has hap­pened to the Salem witch tri­als — with al­le­ga­tions blindly be­lieved while the ac­cused per­son has no op­por­tu­nity to de­fend them­selves.

“I’m fight­ing this,” says Mr Jan­ner, “not only be­cause he was my lov­ing fa­ther whom I adored for nearly 60 years, but be­cause I’ve read the ev­i­dence. I’ve seen these man­i­fest lies.

“Peo­ple say ‘no smoke with­out fire’, and ‘yeah, yeah, he would say that’, but I have no doubt about his in­no­cence.”

Among such ev­i­dence is the most se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tion against Lord Jan­ner, re­lat­ing to Au­gust 16-19 1987, when he is ac­cused of hav­ing raped and tor­tured a boy in a Lon­don ho­tel.

But, he says, Lord Jan­ner’s pass­port, which has now been pro­vided to the in­quiry, shows that he was in Aus­tralia on those dates.

Mr Jan­ner draws a par­al­lel be­tween his fa­ther’s case and that of the late Lord Brit­tan, who was also ac­cused of child sex­ual abuse. “Both were ill, both were Jewish, and both had scur­rilous al­le­ga­tions swirling around them through­out their po­lit­i­cal ca­reers.

“When Op­er­a­tion Mid­land [the col­lapsed po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion into claims of abuse by pub­lic fig­ures] went bel­lyup, all they were left with was my fa­ther.

“But the crit­i­cal thing is the golden rule of Bri­tish jus­tice is that a man is pre­sumed in­no­cent un­til proven guilty. In the case of my fa­ther, for all the al­le­ga­tions, and for all the peo­ple who don’ t like Jews or who don’t like HET or any of the other or­gan­i­sa­tions he was in­volved with, the in­con­ve­nient truth is that in the eyes of the law, he will al­ways be in­no­cent.”

The fam­ily has had “fan­tas­tic sup­port” from some mem­bers of the com­mu­nity, says Mr J ann er. He sin­gles out Lord Pan nick, who spoke about his fa­ther in the House of Lords. “But the prob­lem for the com­mu­nity, as it was for us, is at what stage do you come out and recog­nise his work. Un­til we had the ev­i­dence, peo­ple would say, well, they would say that, wouldn’t they?”

Now, he says, it is time for the or­gan­i­sa­tions with which his fa­ther worked and founded to cel­e­brate Gre­ville Jan­ner’s com­mu­nity con­tri­bu­tion.

“I am cer­tain they would like to do it. They must ac­cept the truth of his in­no­cence”.

At what stage does the com­mu­nity come out and recog­nise my fa­ther’s work?’

The Jan­ner sib­lings — Laura, Daniel and Marion — protest­ing out­side the child abuse in­quiry’s office in Lon­don

Daniel Jan­ner with his fa­ther

PHOTO: PA

Lord Jan­ner

PHOTO: PA

The peer with his daugh­ter Laura Jan­ner-Klaus­ner

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