Lord Janner lawyers lose High Court bid over child abuse charges

  • 41 minutes ago
  • From the section UK
Lord Janner
Lawyers for Lord Janner have lost a High Court bid to spare him attending court to face child sex abuse charges.
The 87-year-old peer, who has dementia, must now appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Friday in relation to 22 charges spanning the 1960s to the 1980s, which he denies.
The ex-MP's lawyers had argued it was "barbaric, inhumane and uncivilised" to force him to attend as he was too ill.
But judges ruled there was a "strong public interest" in his attendance.
Lord Janner's lawyers said they were not planning to appeal the ruling.
If the peer does not attend Friday's hearing, he could be arrested - or prosecutors could ask the High Court for a voluntary bill of indictment to allow the case to proceed in his absence.

'Public justice'

Lord Janner's family have strongly denied claims he used his power as an MP to abuse young boys over three decades.
His lawyer argued he had "virtually no language left at all" and was likely to have a "catastrophic reaction" if he attended court.
A previous ruling ordering him to attend in person was "irrational and perverse", and violated his human rights, said Paul Ozin.
However, upholding that ruling, Lady Justice Rafferty said it did not violate his rights and even if Lord Janner had a reaction to appearing in court it would be "short lived and rapidly forgotten".
Justice should be public and court not a place of "avoidable spectacle", she said.
Lord Janner and Tony Blair
Lord Janner, pictured with former Prime Minister Tony Blair
Lady Justice Rafferty, sitting with Mr Justice Irwin, said the court had "unhesitatingly concluded" that it was in the public interest that Lord Janner attend court.
The judge said the peer had been charged with offences which must be tried in the crown court "and by some means the case must progress to it".
It is that court that would decide whether Lord Janner is fit to face a trial.
line

Who is Lord Janner?

Lord Janner
  • Greville Janner was born in Cardiff in 1928
  • Served in the Army and studied at Cambridge before becoming a barrister and then QC
  • Labour MP for Leicester North West and then Leicester West from 1970 until retiring in 1997, when he was made a life peer
  • Served as president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews
  • Diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2009
  • Suspended from the Labour Party but will remain a member of the House of Lords until his death or until he retires
  • Described by his family as a man of "great integrity" and "entirely innocent of any wrongdoing"
line
Earlier this year, Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders decided not to bring charges because of Lord Janner's ill health - but this decision was overturned after an appeal by the alleged victims.
If a crown court judge decides the former Labour MP for Leicester is fit to plead, a full trial may take place.
If not, there will be a trial of the facts, where a jury will decide only if he committed the physical acts of abuse, with no finding of guilt and no conviction.
Greville Janner was made Lord Janner of Braunstone in 1997. He remains a life peer, but has been on leave of absence since 2014. He was suspended from the Labour Party in April.