Smith report into Savile abuse said to have been circulated at BBC as delays likened to Chilcot - Press Gazette

Smith report into Savile abuse said to have been circulated at BBC as delays likened to Chilcot

Copies of the long-awaited Smith report into abuse by Jimmy Savile on BBC premises are said to have been circulated among executives at the coporation.

The report by Dame Janet Smith was set up in 2012 after widespread sexual abuse by the late DJ was revealed and it emerged that the BBC had suppressed a Newsnight report which would have brought the matter to light in late 2011. The Smith report is said to have cost £5m.

Lawyer Liz Dux, who represents more than 100 alleged victims of Savile, told the Mail on Sunday: "This is supposed to be an independent report, so I will be questioning why it may have already been released to BBC senior management and yet no information has been given to those brave enough to give evidence in person.”

Tory MP Andrew Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said: "The Dame Janet Smith Review is the BBC’s very own Chilcot Report. It looks suspiciously like the BBC doesn’t want it published while it’s trying to renew its Charter. Victims and witnesses will rightly feel let down by this."

The report is said to have been delayed because of concerns it could prejudice ongoing police investigations.

Last month the producer of the spiked Newsnight report into Jimmy Savile, Meirion Jones, told Press Gazette he believed BBC staff involved in expose the Savile scandal has been sideline and forced out of the corporation.

The BBC said in a statement: “Questions about the Review should be sent to Dame Janet Smith. We have not seen the report and have no intention of commenting on speculation.”

The Dame Janet Smith Review has issued the following statement: "“Dame Janet Smith’s Report is finished. However, the Metropolitan Police told the Review in Spring this year that it was concerned that publication of the Report could prejudice its ongoing investigations into sexual abuse. As a result, Dame Janet, recognising that delay would be of particular disappointment to victims and other witnesses, to all of whom she is very grateful, reluctantly took the decision that publication of the Report (and its delivery to the BBC) should be delayed. Publication will take place as soon as possible but it is clearly important that police investigations and any possible subsequent prosecutions should not be prejudiced.

"The Review notes that some previous press commentary (including in respect of the numbers of victims and as to whether the Report has been delivered to the BBC) has been wholly inaccurate. In advance of publication, any comments about the Review's findings are premature and speculative and are not endorsed by the Review.”



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Author: Dominic Ponsford

Dominic Ponsford is the editor of Press Gazette