Lord Janner’s son has accused the Director of Public Prosecutions of doing an “appalling job” as the Government confirmed she is set to stand down from the position.
Daniel Janner QC, hit out at Alison Saunders on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: on Monday over the way she handled the case of his father, who was charged over the collapsed Westminster child abuse ring claims.
“She has been an appalling DPP,” he said. “The CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) under her has fallen into disrepute as the latest collapses over disclosure has established.”
Saunders tenure in the post has been marked by a series of controversies – most recently over the collapse of a series of rape trials.
Four cases collapsed in the space of two months when critical evidence wasn’t disclosed until just days before cases were due to be heard. The controversy sparked a review of every rape case in the country.
Janner said Saunders should have stepped down over the “fiasco involving my late father”, who he said should not have been charged, or “dragged to court”.
Attorney General Jeremy Wright said Saunders would leave in October, at the end of her five year term. The search for her replacement is to begin immediately.
The Government sought to play down reports that ministers had declined to extend Saunders contract.
The press notice announcing her departure pointed out that only one of her predecessors had served for longer than five years.
The Crown Prosecution Service has also said that Saunders, who succeeded Sir Keir Starmer in the role, had not asked for her contract to be extended.
Saunders told the Today Programme that the decision to leave was hers and that she had never intended to stay on beyond her term.
She dismissed Janner’s criticism saying his comments were “incredibly inaccurate and shows a lack of knowledge of the work that goes on across the CPS”.
The Daily Telegraph quoted an unnamed Whitehall source as saying that “it was made clear that her contract would not be extended” because it was felt a “clean break” was needed.
In a statement about Saunders departure, Wright said: “I want to thank Alison personally for her service, not only as DPP but as an accomplished CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) prosecutor whose successful record includes the prosecution of Stephen Lawrence’s killers.
“I have no doubt that she’ll be greatly missed within the organisation.”
Saunders, who will join the multinational law firm Linklaters, said it had been a “tremendous privilege” to be the first DPP to be appointed from within the CPS.
“My priority over the next six months is to keep driving improvements in how we work, with a sharp focus on casework quality,” she said.
“Key to that will be working alongside the police and other partners to find long-term solutions to the disclosure issues that exist throughout the entire criminal justice system.”