Lord Janner, who has been accused of molesting nine boys, and faces 22 child sexual abuse allegations arrived in court this afternoon, after being threatened with arrest if he did not do so.

The argument over whether Lord Janner was fit to attend stems from his suffering with Alzheimer’s which in turn has affected his mental capacity. Any trial which now takes place will be what is known as a Trial Of The Facts, which unlike conventional trials does not allow the defendant to put forward a defence and no verdict is reached. The court will not pass sentence, either: it can only decide whether the offences outlined, were committed.

The extent of Lord Janner’s dementia is still not known and despite four doctors testifying that an appearance today would cause Lord Janner grave harm, the court reviewing the evidence relating to the decision to summon Janner, took the view this would not be the case. It is not yet known whether his appearance today has caused Lord Janner more distress than would normally be associated with such proceedings.

Controversy still rages over Lord Janner’s health. The CPS had initially ruled out the possibility of a trial against Janner on health grounds and public interest arguments, but this was eventually overturned by independent reviews carried out by two QCs. And whilst Janner’s suffering with dementia is not in dispute, conflicting reports about serving on Boards and his attendance at Parliament shortly before the allegations became public, have only served to cause more confusion about the extent of his illness.

The trial continues.

Greville Janner, Comment