Turn up to court this week or face arrest, judge tells Janner: Chief magistrate says he will not tolerate any more delays after lawyers try to use Human Rights Act to stop him appearing
- Former Labour peer faces 22 charges of sex abuse against boys and men
- He was ordered last week to appear in court to answer the case against him
- However his lawyers claim the 87-year-old is too ill to appear in person
- Ex MP denies any wrongdoing and his family say he is ‘entirely innocent’
- Britain’s chief magistrate said he would not tolerate further delay in case
Britain’s chief magistrate Judge Howard Riddle has made it clear that he will not tolerate further delay in the case of Lord Janner (pictured above) who faces 22 charges of sex abuse against boys and men
Lord Janner was yesterday threatened with arrest if he refuses to appear in court over child sex charges.
His lawyers have used the Human Rights Act to claim that appearing before a judge would cause ‘considerable stress and harm’ both to Greville Janner – who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s – and his family.
But Britain’s chief magistrate Judge Howard Riddle yesterday made clear that he would not tolerate further delay.
If Janner refuses to appear at a rearranged hearing on Friday, the judge said the Crown Prosecution Service should apply for a warrant for his arrest.
The peer’s legal team has used Article 8 of the Human Rights Act – the right to a family life – to try to stop him appearing.
His barrister Paul Ozin said: ‘Given his family will have to take steps which would cause Lord Janner considerable stress and harm, we would say that there is a violation of his Article 8 rights because his own family [face] the onerous task of inflicting what they regard as … unnecessary harm to Lord Janner. Our position is that the decision is itself unlawful.’
The former Leicester West MP, who is accused of molesting nine boys between 1963 and 1988 and faces 22 charges, failed to attend a preliminary hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court last week.
But if the 87-year-old doesn’t attend the same court on Friday, he now faces arrest.
Judge Riddle said ‘special arrangements’ should be made by the CPS to ensure the arrest is actually carried out. Janner will be given a special room to sit in before proceedings and will enter court in a wheelchair through a side door.
He will be allowed to sit alongside a relative, a nurse and a member of his legal team – rather than being forced to sit in the dock.
The hearing is only expected to last a minute and during that time Janner’s responses to simple questions can be made by proxy through his legal team.
Passing judgment at Westminster Magistrates’ Court yesterday, Judge Riddle said: ‘If he is required to attend and he doesn’t, then I will be expecting the Crown to make their suggestions [as to] how best to proceed.
‘And if that is by way of an application for warrant, then the judge sitting on that occasion will want to know what special arrangements have been made by the Crown to enforce that.
Former Labour peer Lord Janner is facing child abuse charges after a campaign led by MPs including Simon Danczuk (right) to overturn a decision by the director of public prosecutions Alison Saunders (left) which ruled he was too ill to stand trial
Janner pictured meeting children in 1980. They have no connection with the charges
‘Everybody has had significant time to prepare for these proceedings, and I expect the parties to be able to deal with any expected developments and not to seek any further adjournment.’
However, Janner’s appearance on Friday is still subject to a legal challenge, expected be heard by the High Court tomorrow.
Mr Ozin said Janner’s legal team would also appeal the High Court decision if it does not go in their favour.
Janner, a QC, is charged with sex attacks on vulnerable young boys at a children’s home in his constituency.
At the height of his alleged crimes, Janner is accused of abusing three victims in a month. Other charges reveal he is accused of preying repeatedly on the same boys over months and even years.
The peer is expected to be committed for trial at Southwark Crown Court where a judge will then decide if he is fit to plead.
If he is not, a jury would decide whether he committed the acts based on prosecution evidence. A defence team would test the case but this would be incomplete as the politician could not instruct them or speak on his behalf.
If the jury were satisfied that the acts were done, the judge would have three options – a supervision order, a hospital order or an absolute discharge.
None of these amounts to conviction or punishment, but Janner could be moved to secure accommodation if he is found to be a risk to the public.
Janner has always denied any wrongdoing.
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