Janner court appearance 'would breach human rights', lawyers say


Lawyers for Lord Janner will argue that forcing him to attend court to face child abuse charges despite suffering from dementia breaches his human rights, a judge has heard.

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

But Janner's lawyers told Senior District Judge Howard Riddle today they are taking the case to the High Court, arguing that forcing the 87-year-old to attend court in person is unlawful.

They say 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.

Janner's legal team are expected to apply to the court for an order that Friday's hearing should not go ahead pending a judicial review of the decision that he must attend.

Paul Ozin, defending Janner, told Westminster Magistrates' Court: "We have heard medical evidence that Lord Janner is a particularly vulnerable person likely to suffer an extreme reaction to an environment which is unfamiliar.

"Steps taken to get Lord Janner to court would undoubtedly cause distress for Lord Janner's family ... which would be wholly unnecessary if the High Court concludes the decision of this court is unlawful.

"If his family are required to take steps which will undoubtedly cause Lord Janner considerable distress and harm, that is a violation of his Article 8 rights."

Janner did not have to attend today's hearing. Last Friday his lawyers said he was too ill to attend the court for a first hearing in the case and argued he may suffer a "catastrophic reaction" if made to appear in future. The case is listed for a hearing at the High Court on Thursday afternoon before two judges.