Coming hard on the heels of the resignation of Professor Aileen McColgan, who was leading’s the IICSA’s investigations into the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches, on 16th November 2016, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse made the following announcement:
Update on the investigation concerning institutional responses to allegations of child sexual abuse involving the late Lord Janner of Braunstone QC.
News | 16 November
The Chair, Professor Alexis Jay, has decided to postpone the start date of 7 March 2017 for the oral hearing for the investigation concerning institutional responses to allegations of child sexual abuse involving the late Lord Janner of Braunstone QC. The preliminary hearing due to take place before 31 January will also be postponed.
As part of her ongoing review into the Inquiry’s ways of working, Professor Alexis Jay has looked at whether to keep these hearing dates, bearing in mind the progress of the ongoing criminal and disciplinary investigations and the stage reached of the Inquiry’s own work. In particular, the Chair has had in mind the significant overlap in witnesses who may be involved in both the Inquiry’s investigation and the criminal proceedings. The Chair considers that the reasons given at the preliminary hearing in July for postponing the oral hearing still apply. The need to coordinate how evidence is obtained from witnesses so that it does not prejudice any of the criminal investigations and the need to protect the welfare of complainants in doing so remain a paramount concern for the Inquiry.
The Chair and Panel wish to make clear that they remain committed to holding oral hearings into the issues raised in this investigation. It is anticipated that there will be a preliminary hearing in the first part of next year. More details about the arrangements for re-listing the substantive oral hearing will be provided in due course.
In this July year, the BBC reported that the public hearings into allegations of abuse relating to Lord Janner, due to start in September, had been delayed by six months to March. On this latest development, The Guardian commented: “[t]he first public hearing to be held by the national abuse investigation was to be held in March next year and focus on the institutional responses to allegations made against Janner. But the chair, Prof Alexis Jay, having looked again at the case, and the pace of on-going investigations by the police and the IPCC, decided the hearing had to be delayed to avoid prejudicing these inquiries”.