Stop messing around! Furious judge orders no-show Lord Janner to appear in court at 2pm today on child sex abuse charges and threatens to have him arrested if he doesn’t turn up
- Labour peer must appear in court this afternoon at 2pm or face arrest
- Janner’s legal team made another last minute request to avoid appearance
- His lawyer argued it would fairer for him to appear via video link from home
- But judge told him: ‘stop messing around’ and threatened to arrest Janner
- Peer is accused of 22 child sex abuse charges between 1960s and 1980s
- He has always denied wrongdoing and will now appear in court at 2pm
Drama: Lord Janner failed to appear in court today and may now face arrest if he fails to show up this afternoon
A judge today threatened to arrest Lord Janner and told his lawyer to ‘stop messing around’ after he again failed to appear in court to face 22 child abuse charges.
The 87-year-old must appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court at 2pm today after failing to show twice in the past week in relation to alleged sex attacks in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.
Janner was due to appear in person this morning but the Labour’s peer lawyer Paul Ozin said he was still at home in north London and should be allowed to appear by video link instead.
But district Judge Emma Arbuthnot refused the plea and told Mr Ozin: ‘Stop messing around’.
She said would ‘resolve’ to make sure Lord Janner will appear in court today ‘even if I have to have him arrested’.
A failure to appear in court this afternoon could lead to an arrest warrant being issued against him.
Mrs Justice Arbuthnot said: ‘Even if I have to have him arrested I am going to resolve this matter today.
‘I’m warning you that as time progresses I’m going to turn to the prosecution and say lets get a warrant to have him arrested. Let’s not waste time.’
She added that Janner’s appearance ‘must be done in a humane way. I feel very strongly of that.’
Mr Ozin then confirmed his client will appear in person this afternoon.
He will be allowed to arrive via the court’s side entrance and will not be forced to stand in the dock. Instead he will be wheeled into the room in his wheelchair to face the judge.
The hearing is likely to last around a minute and the peer will not be expected to speak. The case will then be sent to Southwark Crown Court in early September.
Last seen: Lord Janner pictured outside his house in London in 2014. It is said he now needs round the clock care as he suffers from advanced dementia
Janner’s legal team insists that the 87-year-old is suffering from dementia, and forcing him to attend court in person is unlawful and violates his human rights.
Asking for a video link from Janner’s address Mr Ozin said earlier: ‘His residence is where Lord Janner is least likely to suffer an adverse reaction or harm.
‘Within a familiar environment he is reasonably comfortable.
Defence: The Labour peer’s lawyer Paul Ozin, pictured outside court, instead asked a judge to let him appear via video link from his north London home
‘It would not require him to be moved if the link is to his residence. There is evidence that moving him carries with it a risk of an adverse reaction to him or other harm.’
He added that another alternative was for a video link from within the court because this would be ‘less intimidating’ than the peer stepping into the dock
But Crown Prosecution Service lawyer Louise Oakley insisted Janner must attend court and said appearing via link from home was not an option.
Defendants usually only appear in court via video link if they are in custody, which Janner is not.
Ms Oakley said that it was a legal requirement for Janner to appear in person and said that another option could be for the case to be moved to Wood Green Crown Court – closer to Janner’s home.
Mr Ozin said that he would need to take instructions as to whether that was possible, earlier telling the court: ‘Our approach today is to facilitate Lord Janner’s appearance before this court today, in one form or another.’
Last week a judge ordered him to appear in court in person for a hearing due to last around a minute.
After an appeal High Court judge Lady Justice Rafferty backed the decision and said the peer’s dementia meant he was unlikely to suffer lasting distress from having to face a court.
‘It will be short-lived and, as a consequence of his condition, rapidly forgotten,’ she said. Lawyers for the 87-year-old former Labour MP were told he would be before the court for just ‘moments’ for a hearing to allow his case to be sent to a crown court.
The High Court decision means Janner will have to appear at Westminster Magistrates Court, pictured today
Janner’s family mounted a High Court challenge to a ruling by the country’s most senior magistrate that the law requires his attendance.
They argued that forcing him to appear in court would be ‘barbaric, inhuman and uncivilised’, and said the move would be effectively ‘torture’ and ride roughshod over his human right to a ‘private and family life’ just so a ‘box could be ticked’.
But two senior judges dismissed their application without even listening to counter arguments from prosecutors.
Addressing a packed courtroom at the Royal Courts of Justice, Lady Justice Rafferty said: ‘There has been quite enough sadness and misery attached to all this – and delay.’
The High Court bid, which lasted less than an hour, has left the Janner family with a bill of at least £10,000 as costs were ordered against them.
Alzheimer’s sufferer Janner, who is also showing signs of Parkinson’s disease, will be brought in a wheelchair through a side entrance for the brief hearing. He will not be required to speak or enter the dock and, his lawyers said, it is unlikely he would have any understanding of what is taking the place.
Although the High Court upheld the ruling that the law requires Janner’s attendance today, the location of the hearing was unclear last night.
Those involved in the negotiations said the case could begin at Westminster Magistrates’ Court before being moved to Wood Green in north London, closer to his care home.
Janner is charged with 22 sex attacks on vulnerable young boys at a children’s home in the Leicester constituency where he was an MP.
Yesterday the Janner family’s barrister Paul Ozin said requiring the peer to attend court would breach Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights which protects people against torture. It would also be in contravention of Article 8, which safeguards the right of individuals to enjoy their privacy and ‘family life’.
But Lady Justice Rafferty said the chief magistrate ‘was not wrong in his decision’ and his order for Janner to appear must stand. She added that there ‘is no question of torture’ and that his right to a family life must be ‘weighted against other considerations’.
‘In this context they include the obvious and strong public interest in ensuring those summoned to court attend when required,’ she said.
Janner is expected to be committed for trial at Southwark Crown Court where a judge will almost certainly rule he is unfit to plead.
A jury will then decide whether he committed the acts based on prosecution evidence.
Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders came under fire for the original decision not to prosecute the Labour peer
THE ACCUSATIONS: 22 SEX ATTACKS SPANNING NEARLY TWO DECADES
By Alison Saunders’ own admission, the evidence against Lord Janner was strong enough in relation to no fewer than nine victims to place before a court.
The Labour peer is suspected of carrying out 22 sex attacks against young victims, including a girl, who were in local authority care. They allegedly took place over a 19 years and include:
- 14 indecent assaults on a male under 16 between 1969 and 1988
- Two indecent assaults between 1984 and 1988
- Four counts of serious sexual assault on a male under 16 between 1972 and 1987
- Two counts of serious sexual assault between 1977 and 1988
Around 25 victims are thought to have contacted police as part of the investigation. The main claims investigated by Leicestershire Police centre on Janner’s alleged friendship with Frank Beck, a paedophile care home manager jailed in 1991 for a string of sex offences.
One of those prepared to give evidence against Janner is Hamish Baillie, 47, who lived in Beck’s care home and alleges that at 15 he was molested by the peer during a game of hide-and-seek.
Another complainant who formed part of the inquiry is Ray Dunkley, 56, who said he was indecently assaulted when Janner visited his primary school in 1966 – four years before he was elected an MP.
Since the decision in April not to prosecute Janner, more alleged victims are believed to have come forward, with at least 30 now said to have spoken to police.
Police have launched a separate investigation into allegations that Janner took a teenage boy to Scotland in the 1970s and sexually assaulted him.
THE KEY DATES IN LORD JANNER’S JOURNEY TO THE COURTS
Leicestershire Police launch Operation Enamel – the fourth investigation into child sex abuse allegations against Labour peer Greville Janner. More than a dozen alleged victims came forward to say he had molested them, most in Leicester care homes during the 1970s and 1980s.
February 7, 2013
Janner speaks for last time in Lords, giving a 765-word speech on Israel.
November 26, 2013
Votes in House of Lords for the last time, on a finance bill. Claims expenses.
Police search Janner’s North London home. Makes last 12 Lords appearances.
Police remove items from Janner’s office in Millbank, Central London.
After police request to speak to Janner, medical experts send report saying he is not fit to be interviewed because he has dementia.
May 27, 2014
Janner uses Westminster car park, but pays for his stay as he was not there on official business.
June 2 & 3, 2014
Uses Westminster car park again and confirms to the authorities that he was there on official business, despite Parliament not sitting at the time.
April 16, 2015
DPP Alison Saunders says police have enough evidence to charge Janner with 22 offences, but will not do so as he is unfit to stand trial. Police and alleged victims are furious – sparking four separate reviews and threats of legal action.
June 26, 2015
DPP’s decision is overturned and Janner is told he faces court
August 7 & 14, 2015
Janner fails to appear in court twice and is threatened with arrest
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