Dementia to prevent former Leeds councillor Ron Grahame standing trial on historic sex charges

A former councillor will not stand trial on historic sex charges after it was concluded he has vascular dementia.
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Following lengthy medical investigations, two psychiatrists agree that Ron Grahame, an ex Burmantofts and Richmond Hill councillor, would be unable to follow the court proceedings to his deteriorating condition. He also suffered a previous brain injury which has “aggravated” the condition also.

The 80-year-old, of Swardale Green, Leeds, is accused of attempting to rape a girl under 16 years of age between October 4, 1981 and October 4, 1982.

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He is also charged with attempting to commit a further serious sexual offence, and faces two of indecent assault on a girl under the age of 14, between October 4, 1980 and October 4, 1982. He denies each all charges.

His trial was due to begin today, but it was confirmed that he would be unable to take part. Instead, a trial of facts will take place, which involves a jury and is similar to a criminal trial, but the defendant does not take part and not even required to attend.

Ron Grahame, who is accused of sexual abuse dating back 40 years. (pics by National World)Ron Grahame, who is accused of sexual abuse dating back 40 years. (pics by National World)
Ron Grahame, who is accused of sexual abuse dating back 40 years. (pics by National World)

Unlike a criminal trial, the jury is not required to return a verdict of guilty or not guilty. The court will not sentence them as normal - but instead has the option of making a number of treatment orders, or an absolute discharge.

The judge, Recorder Bryan Cox KC told Leeds Crown Court this morning: “There has been considerable medical investigation throughout these proceedings.

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“He has, in fact, entered not-guilty pleas and the medical consensus is that he is fit to plea. There has, however, been an ongoing concern as to his fitness to stand trial.

“There are a plethora of medical reports. Both psychiatrists reached the conclusion that he is unfit to stand trial. He has the capacity to understand the proceedings but it’s thought his deficit in short-term memory, impaired concentration and an impairment for an ability to focus are such that he that he would not be able to adequately follow what occurs.

“While it’s a matter of regret for all concerned, it an inevitable conclusion based on medical evidence.”

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A jury is to be sworn in for the trial of facts and is to proceed this afternoon. Grahame was the councillor for Burmantofts and Richmond Hill until May 2022. He was first elected onto Leeds City Council to represent Whinmoor in 1982.