'Fitness' issue on war crimes

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The Independent Online
A jury may be asked to decide whether an 85-year-old man accused in Britain's first war crimes trial is fit to plead when he appears at the Old Bailey next year.

Mr Justice Potts decided to hold two preliminary hearings before Szymon Serafinowicz stands trial on 22 January.

Defence lawyers are expected to urge at the first that the case be thrown out under an abuse of process argument. That is set provisionally for next month. Serafinowicz's fitness to plead will be decided at the second. The retired carpenter from Banstead, Surrey, who was in court yesterday, faces three charges of murdering Jews between 1941 and 1942 in Belarus.