A court heard today that a judge will decide in December if Lord Janner is fit enough to stand trial over alleged child sexual abuse.
The former labour peer who is accused of 22 child sex abuse charges, was excused from attending the Old Bailey hearing today.
A fitness to plead hearing has been scheduled for December 7 and a “trial of facts” is expected to be heard on February 22 next year.
The Mail Online reports: The court was told that Janner who is suffering from dementia, will face a fitness to plead hearing later this year, ahead of a trial in the spring.
The former QC, a member of the House of Lords since 1997, was not required to attend today’s ‘purely administrative’ hearing at the Old Bailey following an order made by Mr Justice Sweeney.
The judge set a the provisional date of 7 December for a plea and case management hearing, which would include a fitness to plead hearing, and a provisional trial date for 22 February – although it could be put back.
The trial will take place in a central London court with the judge still to be nominated.
If the trial judge decides Janner is not fit to enter pleas and stand trial, the court may conduct a ‘trial of the facts’, where a jury would hear evidence from alleged victims and decide if Janner committed the physical acts of abuse.
It is not considered a trial as such because the defendant cannot put forward a defence, and it can be heard in their absence.
There is, therefore, no guilty verdict and the court cannot pass sentence. All it can do is make a hospital order, a supervision order, or an order for the defendant’s absolute discharge.