Lord Janner will not have to stand trial at the Old Bailey for historical sex offences, after a judge officially declared him unfit to plead today.
The Labour peer and former MP is accused of 22 sexual offences dating back to the 1960s against nine alleged victims, the majority of whom were 16 or younger at the time.
Four experts have agreed that Janner would be unable to participate due to Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia but he is still expected to face a ‘trial of the facts’
The Guardian reports:
The decision on Monday means that there will not be a full criminal trial to hear the claims against Janner, which span three decades.
Instead, he is expected to face a “trial of the facts”, where the jury is asked to decide – on the basis of evidence adduced by prosecution lawyers and by lawyers who put the case for the defence – whether or not the accused did the acts he or she was charged with.
Judge Peter Openshaw, presiding, said he had taken the unusual decision to release details of the medical assessments on Janner’s condition following “scepticism” over his ability to appear before the court.
Due to severe dementia, Janner can no longer recognise his children and grandchildren; cannot speak, write or watch television; and is reliant upon a carer for his safety and personal hygiene, the court heard. Four eminent clinicians examined Janner on 11 separate occasions, the court heard.
Openshaw said: “All tests have shown a progressive decline in his dementia, with an inevitable and irresistible conclusion that the defendant has advanced and disabling dementia that has deteriorated and is irreversible, and accordingly I find that he is unfit to plead.”
The peer was not required to attend Monday’s hearing. He remains on bail while a trial of facts has already been earmarked to start on 11 April next year.