Jimmy Savile report: Victims' lawyer calls Dame Janet Smith report on BBC 'an expensive whitewash'

Adam Withnall
Thursday 25 February 2016 11:20 GMT
Why was nobody able to blow the whistle on Jimmy Savile?
Why was nobody able to blow the whistle on Jimmy Savile? (PA)

A lawyer representing the victims of Jimmy Savile has described a report into BBC responsibility for his crimes "an expensive whitewash".

Dame Janet Smith's report found there was a culture of "reverence and fear" towards celebrities at the corporation, but there was no evidence BBC bosses were aware of the widespread sexual abuse carried out by Savile himself.

Liz Dux, a lawyer at Slater and Gordon representing 168 of Savile's many victims, told The Independent managers would only have had to "scratch at the very surface and a lot of Savile's offending would have been revealed".

She said: "All the Savile and [Stuart] Hall victims have ever wanted from this report is truth and accountability.

“Despite millions having been spent on the inquiry my clients will feel let down that the truth has still not been unearthed, and many will feel it is nothing more than an expensive whitewash.

“It is unfortunate that Dame Janet had no power to compel senior managers to give evidence, giving the impression that the whole picture of who knew what has not been revealed."

She added: "With 117 witnesses giving evidence of concerns and rumours, it’s implausible to suggest that this did not reach the upper echelons of the BBC."

Dame Janet's independent review, which was launched in 2012, found Savile carried out sex attacks in "virtually every one of the BBC premises in which he worked".

She said her findings made for "very sorry reading" for the BBC and that she had identified "some serious failings" in the organisation's culture. No individuals were named as personally responsible.

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