Lord Janner could face an arrest warrant if he fails to attend court and face child abuse charges

The former MP's lawyers argue the dementia-sufferer's human rights would be breached if he attended court

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The Independent Online

Lord Janner may be faced with a warrant if he fails to turn up in court to face child abuse charges on 14 August as his defence team prepares a last-minute bid to prevent the peer from attending.

Lawyers for the 87-year-old former MP, who suffers from dementia, said he would suffer “considerable distress and harm” which would breach his human rights. They will take their argument to the High Court after a Senior District Judge said the peer was still expected to appear at Westminster Magistrates Court on 14 August to face 22 charges spanning a period from the 1960s to the 1980s.

Chief magistrate Howard Riddle said: “I’m not prepared to adjourn the hearing. The hearing will remain listed in this court at 10am on Friday morning. As things stand, Lord Janner is expected to attend.”

 

The judge said two alternative settings for the hearing - Wood Green Crown Court, which is closer to Lord Janner’s home in north London, and another room at Westminster Magistrates’ Court - had not been accepted by the peer’s defence team. He said that court staff would now make arrangements for Lord Janner’s appearance and the hearing was “likely to take less than a minute”.

Judge Riddle said: “I’m satisfied the journey to this court is reasonable and arrangements can be made for the defendant to come into court with as little distress as can be expected in view of his condition.”

Lord Janner can be accompanied at the hearing by a member of his family, a professional nurse and a member of his legal team.

Judge Riddle said: “If the requirement remains for Lord Janner to attend and he does not attend, then I will be expecting the Crown to make suggestions how best to proceed. If that is by means of an application for a warrant - and I do not say one way or another if it should be - but if it is, the judge sitting on that occasion will want to know what special measures have been made by the Crown to enforce one.”