A High Court judge has set a fresh date for the Babes in the Wood perjury trial which had been due to start this month.
Sir Peter Fraser, known as Mr Justice Fraser, put back the case until next month during a hearing yesterday (Friday 5 March) at Hove Crown Court.
The trial of Jennifer Johnson had been due to start in just over a fortnight’s time but is now scheduled to start on Monday 12 April.
Mr Justice Fraser is due to preside while a jury is asked to decide whether Johnson committed perjury as a witness when her boyfriend Russell Bishop was tried at Lewes Crown Court in 1987. She is also charged with perverting the course of justice.
Bishop was acquitted of murdering two nine-year-olds, Nicola Fellows and Karen Hadaway, in what was known as the Babes in the Wood murder case after they were killed the year before.
He was convicted in a retrial at the Central Criminal Court, better known as the Old Bailey, in December 2018.
Johnson, 55, of Saunders Park View, Brighton, is accused of committing perjury at Bishop’s trial in November 1987.
She is charged that, “being lawfully sworn in judicial proceedings, namely the trial of Russell Bishop at Lewes Crown Court, wilfully made a false statement, namely, that her statement of Friday 31 October 1986 made to Sussex Police was untrue.”
Specifically, the charge reads that she told the jury at Lewes “that she had not seen a blue Pinto sweatshirt before Friday 31 October 1986, that it was not Russell Bishop’s sweatshirt and that she had never seen it before, the statement being material in the judicial proceedings”.
Johnson denies the charge.
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