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Lawyers to discuss next steps in Lord Janner sex abuse trial

Lord Janner appearing in court in August Photo: PA

Lawyers in the child sex case of the late Lord Janner will return to the Old Bailey in the New Year to discuss a way forward, a senior court official has said.

The case will be listed for mention on Friday, January 15 with the allocated trial judge Mr Justice Openshaw appearing via video link from Leeds.

The move comes two days after prosecutors appeared to leave the door open to pressing ahead with criminal proceedings despite the death of the elderly peer last week.

A "trial of the facts" had been scheduled for April to examine charges related to 22 sexual offences dating back to the 1960s against nine alleged victims, mostly under 16 at the time.

In a trial of the facts, a jury considers the evidence against an individual but there is no guilty verdict and the court cannot pass sentence.

All it can do is make a hospital order, a supervision order, or an order for the defendant's absolute discharge.

Lord Janner's family announced that he had died peacefully at home aged 87 at the weekend.

In a statement, the CPS had said:

Greville Janner faced criminal proceedings for child sex offences, with a trial of the facts scheduled to take place in April 2016.

When a defendant dies during criminal proceedings, it is usual that the case no longer goes ahead following formal confirmation of the defendant's death at a hearing before the court.

However, we are considering the procedural implications of this specific case.

It is right that this matter is considered properly in open court, and we will therefore not be commenting further ahead of a court hearing."

– Crown Prosecution Service

A High Court judge ruled this month that Lord Janner's "deteriorating and irreversible" dementia meant he could not stand trial in person.

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Alison Saunders had ruled that Lord Janner should not be charged with alleged child sex crimes because of his ill health. But that decision was overturned by an independent review in April.

There have been suggestions that the case could be considered by the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse led by Justice Lowell Goddard.

Liz Dux, specialist abuse lawyer at Slater and Gordon, who represents six of Lord Janner's alleged victims, said their priority was for a judicial finding of facts either through the criminal proceedings or via the Goddard Inquiry as soon as possible.

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