England

Court to decide on accused Bishop Peter Ball's health

Bishop Peter Ball Image copyright Western Gazette
Image caption Peter Ball served as Bishop of Lewes and Bishop of Gloucester until 1993

A senior judge will decide whether a retired Anglican bishop is well enough to stand trial for alleged sex crimes dating back nearly 40 years.

Bishop Peter Ball, 83, is accused of sexually assaulting boys and young men when he was Bishop of Lewes, East Sussex in the 1970s and 80s.

The Old Bailey was told a 10-week trial is provisionally set to start in the first week of October.

The trial judge will hear argument on whether Bishop Ball can stand trial.

Mr Justice Sweeney said senior judge Mr Justice Wilkie has been allocated to hear the case.

Bishop Ball, of Aller, near Langport in Somerset, was Bishop of Lewes between 1977 and 1992 and Bishop of Gloucester from 1992 until 1993.

He is charged with misconduct in public office between October 1977 and December 1992; indecent assault on a boy then aged between 12 and 13 in 1978 and the same offence against a man aged 19 to 20 between 1980 and 1982.

He is also charged with indecent assault on a man over 16 between 1990 and 1991 in Berwick and on a boy under 16 between 1984 and 1985, in Litlington, both in East Sussex.

The venue for the hearing in October is yet to be decided.

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