Thursday, August 13, 2015

Lord Janner lawyers lose bid to prevent him appearing in court on child sex charges

Lawyers for Lord Janner have lost a High Court bid to prevent him having to attend court on Friday to face child abuse charges.

The former Labour peer and MP has been ordered to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London on Friday in relation to 22 charges spanning a period from the 1960s to the 1980s.

His legal team says the 87-year-old is suffering from dementia and forcing him to attend court in person is unlawful and violates his human rights. They wanted the hearing halted to give him time to seek judicial review of the decision that he must attend.

They say Lord Janner, who has Alzheimer's disease, will suffer "considerable distress and harm" from his court appearance, which will violate his rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

They asked High Court judges to order that Friday's hearing should not go ahead to give him time to apply for a judicial review of the decision that he must attend.

Forcing Lord Janner to appear in court would be "barbaric, inhumane and uncivilised" because he is confined to a wheelchair and had "virtually no speech left".

Paul Ozin QC, who was representing the former MP said making him attend a short magistrates' court hearing would "expose him to a perfect storm of confusion and distress" and is not something a civilised society should contemplate.

Mr Ozin told appeal judges: "Vulnerable people who have no memory left are also entitled to dignity."

But Lady Justice Rafferty, sitting with Mr Justice Irwin, said the court had "unhesitatingly concluded" that the balance between the human rights of Lord Janner and "the public interest in public justice" came down in favour of (Janner's) attendance in court for the brief period required by the law.  (more...)

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