Date fixed for Lord Janner hearing

Lord Janner in 1996 Image copyright AP

A judge will decide at a hearing on 7 December whether Lord Janner, who is facing child sex abuse charges spanning three decades, is fit to plead.

The date was set at an Old Bailey hearing, which the 87-year-old, who has dementia, was excused from attending.

If the judge decides the peer is fit to plead, a full trial may take place.

If not, a "trial of the facts" will take place on 22 February, where a jury will decide if he committed the abuse, with no finding of guilt or conviction.

A back-up date has been set for 5 April.

At Tuesday's preliminary hearing, Mr Justice Sweeney said the disclosure of evidence in the case and updating of medical reports would continue in the meantime.

Lord Janner is accused of 15 counts of indecent assault and seven counts of a separate sexual offence against a total of nine alleged victims in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. He denies the allegations.

BBC home affairs correspondent Tom Symonds said it was expected Lord Janner would not be considered fit to plead in a full criminal trial.

A "trial of the facts" is a relatively rare procedure normally used in cases where a defendant poses a danger and needs to be hospitalised for the safety of themselves and others.

Who is Lord Janner?

Image copyright PA
  • Born in Cardiff in 1928
  • Served in the Army and studied at Cambridge before becoming a barrister and then QC
  • Labour MP for Leicester North West and then Leicester West from 1970 until retiring in 1997, when he was made a life peer
  • Diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2009
  • Suspended from the Labour Party but will remain a member of the House of Lords until his death or until he retires
  • Described by his family as a man of "great integrity" and "entirely innocent of any wrongdoing"

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