Sunday 23 October 2016

Judge rules dementia sufferer Lord Janner is unfit to stand trial in child sex abuse case

Emily Pennink

Published 07/12/2015 | 11:54

File photo dated 14/08/15 of Lord Janner
File photo dated 14/08/15 of Lord Janner

Lord Janner is unfit to stand trial for a string of sex offences against boys dating back 50 years, a High Court judge has ruled.

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Mr Justice Openshaw made his decision based on medical reports outlining the declining health of the 87-year-old dementia sufferer when the case was brought back to the Old Bailey today.

At the last hearing in October, both prosecution and defence barristers made it clear there was no dispute between them that Greville Janner was not well enough to stand trial.

The judge said: "The defendant has advanced and disabling dementia which is deteriorating and irreversible and I find he is unfit to plead and stand trial on his indictment."

Janner is charged with 22 sexual offences dating back to the 1960s against nine alleged victims, the majority of whom were 16 or under at the time.

There are 15 counts of indecent assault and seven counts of a separate sexual offence said to have taken place in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Twenty-one of the charges relate to children who were aged 16 or under at the time.

In his ruling, the judge said the allegations of sexual offences against boys had spanned the years between 1963 and 1998 but it was not necessary to go into details at this stage.

The defendant was not required to attend court and a further hearing was set for March 7 ahead of a planned trial of facts in April.

In order to make a ruling, there had to be reports from two or more registered medical practitioners and at least one approved by the Secretary of State as having special experience.

It was determined on the basis that Lord Janner would be unable to understand the charges against him, instruct lawyers or enter a plea.

Four experts for the prosecution and defence provided reports on the peer over the past two years which all agreed, Mr Justice Openshaw said.

The court heard that Janner was unable to remember key events from his personal history such as where he went to school and details of his parliamentary career.

He needed a full-time carer and became disorientated in time and place with "severely impaired memory", according to one of the reports from February last year.

Press Association

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