14 Aug 2015

Lord Janner has appeared in court for the first time

The 87-year-old peer appeared in person after the judge threatened to issue an arrest warrant. He was released on unconditional bail.

After a morning of legal wrangling, Lord Janner has appeared briefly at Westminster Magistrates’ Court.

Using a walking stick he entered the courtroom and appearing confused said: “Ooh, wonderful.”

He sat at a desk near the entrance used for vulnerable witnesses and looked around the room before being asked if he was Lord Janner, he replied: “Yes.”

He was released on unconditional bail before being led out of the courtroom by a carer, presumed to be his daughter.

‘Stop messing around’

Channel 4 News reporter Paul McNamara wrote from court earlier in the day that the peer’s barrister was warned to “stop messing around”, after a morning in court arguing to hold the hearing by video link.

Deputy Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot, said: “Even if I have to have him arrested I am going to resolve this issue today.”

Barrister Paul Ozin QC is now making arrangements for the elderly peer to come to Westminster Magistrates Court.

Lord Janner’s legal team lost a High Court bid yesterday to prevent him having to attend Westminster Magistrates’ Court this morning. Two senior judges ruled that an appearance by the 87-year-old must take place because of “the obvious and strong public interest in ensuring those summoned to court attend when required”.

Lord Janner, who suffers from dementia, faces 22 child abuse charges spanning a period from the 1960s to the 1980s. Earlier in August it was ruled that he must appear in court to face the charges.

This follows a decision to overturn a ruling by Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders that the former Labour peer should not be charged with alleged child sex crimes because of his illness.

Lord Janner has always denied any wrongdoing.


His lawyer, Paul Ozin, tried to persude the judge to allow him to appear via video-link.

Mr Ozin said: “His residence is where Lord Janner is least likely to suffer an adverse reaction or harm. Within a familiar environment he is reasonably comfortabl… It would not require him to be moved if the link is to his residence.”

Channel 4 News reporter Paul McNamara wrote from court that after an initial 20 minute hearing, Paul Ozin QC returned to court to argue again for video link.

But after another 12 minutes of argument the magistrate said: “I’m a bit concerned that this is becoming a timewasting [exercise].”

It is now expected that Lord Janner will appear in court at 2pm at Westminster Magistrates.