Judge to rule on fitness of Lord Janner to stand trial for 'child sex abuse'


A high court judge is expected to rule on whether Lord Janner is unfit to stand trial for a string of child sex offences dating back 50 years.

Mr Justice Openshaw will hear details of the 87-year-old dementia sufferer's condition when the case is brought back to the Old Bailey today.

At a the last hearing in October, both prosecution and defence barristers made it clear there was no dispute between them that Greville Janner was not well enough.

But the senior judge told them that the matter should be decided following a "short opening" in court as the public was "entitled to know" why.

He said: "Plainly there is a public interest in these matters and the public are entitled to know the evidence on which the finding has been made.

"Should the medical reports be made available to the press - that is a question we will need to address on December 7.

"Are the press entitled to see the reports, what can the press report on the hearing and what in the fullness of time should the jury be told?"

The peer is not required to attend today's hearing as he remains on bail while a trial of facts has already been earmarked to start on April 11 next year.

Janner is accused of 22 sexual offences dating back to the 1960s against nine alleged victims, the majority of whom were 16 or under at the time.

There are 15 counts of indecent assault and seven counts of a separate sexual offence said to have taken place in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Twenty-one of the charges relate to children who were aged 16 or under at the time.

Earlier this year, a review of the case led the Crown Prosecution Service to overturn its decision not pursue charges against Lord Janner due to his ill-health.

Recently released official figures have revealed that more than 2,000 suspected criminals avoided prosecution last year because of their ill-health or age.

The CPS said 1,892 criminal cases were dropped at courts in England and Wales in 2014 due to the "significant ill-health, elderliness or youth" of a defendant.

Another 439 cases were abandoned for the same reasons before the suspect was charged with an offence, according to figures obtained by the Press Association.