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High Court To Rule Whether Lord Janner Court Appearance Is Unlawful

Lord Janner

A High Court judge is to decide whether it was unlawful to order Lord Janner to appear in person in court to face child sex abuse charges.

Last week, Janner failed to appear in court and the magistrate ruled that the former Labour peer, 87, must appear in person for the hearing which was adjourned until Friday 14th August.

A warrant could be issued for Janner’s arrest if he fails to attend court the judge warned.

Lawyers acting on behalf of Janner, who has dementia and denies the charges, argued he was too ill to attend court.

If his dementia is ruled to be too advanced, a trial of fact could be held with jurors asked to rule if Lord Janner carried out the acts with which he is charged.

The Telegraph reports

The former Labour peer is scheduled to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday for a brief hearing.
But his legal team has launched a High Court challenge in a last-ditch bid to overturn the decision, claiming it is unlawful and a breach of his human rights.
The hearing will be heard on Thursday afternoon but if Lord Janner loses, he will be expected at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday.
Howard Riddle, the chief magistrate, who has demanded that he attend court, has made various arrangements to ensure the appearance is not too distressing for the 87-year-old, who has dementia.

He will enter via a side entrance and make his way to the courtroom via step free access. The former MP will will stand in the well of the court, rather than the dock, and have the option of being accompanied by a relative, a nurse and a member of his legal team. The entire process is expected to be over by a minute past 10am.

Judge Riddle acknowledged that proceedings were dependant on the outcome of the High Court challenge, but he said: “If the requirement remains for Lord Janner to attend and he does not, I will be expecting the Crown to make their suggestions as to how best to proceed.

“If that is by application of a warrant, then the judge sitting on that occasion will want to know what special arrangements have been made by the Crown to enforce the warrant.”

He added: “I am satisfied that the journey to this court is reasonable and that arrangements can be made for the defendant to come into this courtroom with as little distress as can be expected in view of his condition.”

Judge Riddle said he was not prepared to adjourn the hearing but agreed that if High Court proceedings were ongoing then Lord Janner would not be expected to attend.

Paul Ozin, for Lord Janner, earlier told the court he had requested the High Court “urgently” hear an application to overturn the decision to force his client to attend.

“Our position is that the decision in itself is unlawful and is not capable or being rendered lawful by any of the measures currently being contemplated,” he said.

He said the “onerous task” of getting Lord Janner to court would cause him “considerable distress and harm” which would violate his rights under Article 8 of the Human Rights Act.