Child sex abuse inquiry: Campaigner who claims Kenneth Clarke 'failed to act' loses bid for key status
Child sex abuse inquiry: Campaigner who claims Kenneth Clarke ‘failed to act’ loses bid for key status
By David Barrett, home affairs correspondent
1 APRIL 2016 • 3:12PM
victims’ campaigner who claims Kenneth Clarke failed to act on child sex abuse warnings has been denied a key role in the Government’s official inquiry, The Telegraph can disclose.
Nigel O’Mara, a leading figure in the sex abuse survivors’ organisation WhiteFlowers, applied last month to Justice Lowell Goddard to become a “core participant” in the inquiry.
However, his case has been rejected by Justice Goddard, the inquiry chairman, in a move described as “astonishing” by Mr O’Mara’s legal team.
Justice Goddard ruled the whistle-blower’s evidence will not have a “direct and significant role” in her examination of abuse allegedly committed by Lord Greville Janner, the late Labour peer, and Sir Cyril Smith, the late Liberal MP.
Mr O’Mara claims he submitted important information to Mr Clarke in 1992 and 1993 – when the politician was home secretary – which detailed a series of sex assaults by Lord Janner, then an MP, and Sir Cyril.
His lawyers claim Mr O’Mara’s allegations will add substantial weight to claims that key information was overlooked by the authorities.
In a formal ruling Justice Goddard said: “Mr O’Mara does not say he was a victim of abuse by Lord Janner, nor does he say he has first hand knowledge of any alleged abuse.
“I am shocked and saddened.”
“While the evidence Mr O’Mara has indicated he can give to the inquiry may, if accepted, support a finding of institutional failure, I am not satisfied that that alone is sufficient to suggest that Mr O’Mara played or may have played a direct and significant role in relation to in matters to which this investigation relates.”
In response, Mr O’Mara said: “I am shocked and saddened that the first decision the Goddard Inquiry has made is to exclude participation of a witness of allegations about Lord Janner’s sexual abuse of children in care.
“The concern for many survivors of child sexual abuse is that the cover up of Lord Janner’s alleged sexual abuse of children continues.”
He added: “In 1992 I co-founded Survivors UK, a helpline for survivors of male rape and sexual abuse.
“We received a series of calls from young men alleging that they had been sexually abused, while they were children in care, by Greville Janner MP and Cyril Smith MP.”
The reports were sent to Mr Clarke but no response was received, he added.
“A key issue with Greville Janner and Cyril Smith is how they were able to go unchallenged and unprosecuted for so many years.
“Had there been an investigation in 1993 children could have been protected and the alleged perpetrators of these sex crimes could have been investigated and prosecuted if the evidence was acted upon.”
David Enright, Mr O’Mara’s solicitor, said: “When we appeared in the High Court before Lady Justice Goddard on behalf of Mr O’Mara the court was overflowing with lawyers and barristers representing … every institution and organisation alleged to have failed to protect children from sexual abuse by these powerful politicians.
“All of those institutions have full participation in this judicial inquiry and will have the opportunity to see the evidence and influence the inquiry.
“A key survivor witness will not.”
He added: “We are astonished … that the participation of such a key whistle-blower and survivor of Mr O’Mara’s standing has been excluded.
“Survivors of child sexual abuse up and down the UK will be shocked by this decision.”
It follows allegations in 2014 that a dossier on Establishment figures involved in sex abuse was passed to the Home Office in 1984 by the late Conservative MP Geoffrey Dickens.
The file was passed to Leon Brittan, later Lord Brittan of Spennithorne, when he was home secretary and is said to have named “large numbers” of public figures as paedophiles.
Lord Brittan – who died in January – was accused of not dealing adequately with information passed to him by Mr Dickens.
But he said before his death that he had given the dossier to the relevant Home Office officials for examination.