Labour peer Lord Janner has been given a team of publicly funded lawyers following a judge’s ruling on Monday that he is unfit to stand trial on child sex abuse charges.
Earlier this week 87-year-old Lord Janner was ruled too ill to face trial on charges of serious child sex crimes after months of legal wrangling over his mental health. Mr Justice Openshaw ruled his dementia is so severe he is barely able to recognise his own children, has no short-term memory, and is “unable to give any meaningful account of any aspect of his personal or professional history.”
Now — in common with defendants similarly deemed unfit to plead and regardless of personal wealth — he has automatically been granted state funded legal support, reports The Mirror.
The two senior barristers who represented Lord Janner at Monday’s Old Bailey hearing — Nicholas Purnell QC and Andrew Smith QC — are now likely to represent him at future hearings. This is expected to include a “trial of the facts” which allows a jury to decide whether the peer did in fact commit the 22 offences in the 1960s, 70s and 80s of which he is accused, but with no finding of guilt or conviction.
Lord Janner, supported by his family, has denied all allegations of sexually assaulting boys resident in Leicestershire care homes between 1963 and 1988, the youngest alleged victim of which was then eight years old. He remains on bail.
If the top barristers do again represent the former MP at the trial of the facts expected to take place in April, the court’s central fund will pay their legal fees as well as those of his solicitors. The central fund is separate to legal aid which has not been applied for in this case.