Julian Assange Extradition (Live updates)
12.40pm: Mark Stephens, Assange’s lawyer, has made a statement. He says Assange will appeal on arguments already made – that a rape trial in Sweden will be held in secret (the prosecution disputed this description of a trial where evidence is heard in the absence of the public or press) and that Assange will be held “incommunicado” before it since Swedish law has no provision for bail.
12.12pm: The judge has given Assange’s team until 2pm to get his bail in order.
11.55am: From the full ruling, this is what the judge had to say about Assange’s Swedish lawyer’s “deliberate attempt to mislead the court” over whether Ny, the Swedish prosecutor, had attempted to interview his client before he left the country.
Mr Hurtig said in his statement that it was astonishing that Ms Ny made no effort to interview his client. In fact this is untrue. He says he realised the mistake the night before giving evidence. He did correct the statement in his evidence in chief (transcript p.83 and p.97). However, this was very low key and not done in a way that I, at least, immediately grasped as significant. It was only in cross-examination that the extent of th
e mistake became clear. Mr Hurtig must have realised the significance of paragraph 13 of his proof when he submitted it. I do not accept that this was a genuine mistake. It cannot have slipped his mind.
11.41am: The full ruling is now online.
11.35am: The court is breaking for five minutes to gather together sureties for Assange’s continuing bail (which must now be renewed).
11.21am: Assange loses the case. He has seven days to appeal or will be extradited to Sweden in 10.
11.17am: The judge dismisses defence arguments of abuse of process. He adds:
11.10am: The defence argued that the allegations against Assange were not offences in English law and therefore not extraditable. The judge says the three alleged offences against Miss A (sex assault and molestation) meet the criteria for extradition offences and a fourth against Miss B, an allegation of rape, “would amount to rape” in this country (the defence had disputed this).
11.08am: More on the interview, or absence of one – the judge says it is not unreasonable for Ny to want to interview Assange in Sweden rather than the UK and it cannot be said that because he has not been interviewed he is not wanted for prosecution. He says he has “no doubt” that Assange is wanted for prosecution in Sweden.
11.02am: The judge says it is clear that Assange has not made himself available for interview in Sweden. He says it is not for him to decide whether he deliberately fled, just that he did not make himself available.
10.53am: The judge says the Swedish prosecutor, Marianne Ny, does have the authority to issue a European arrest warrant and that the warrant is valid.
10.50am: The summary now addresses claims from the defence that Assange would face a negative climate in Sweden. He says there has been “considerable adverse publicity against Mr Assange in Sweden” including from the prime minister.
10.45am: The judge’s summary is onto attempts by the Swedish prosecutor to contact Assange before he left the country.
• Assange’s Swedish lawyer, Björn Hurtig, made a deliberate attempt to mislead this court, the judge says. He terms him an unreliable witness on attempts by the Swedish prosecutor to contact his client.
• Of Assange, he says: “It would be a reasonable assumption from the facts that Mr Assange was deliberately avoiding interrogation before he left Sweden.”
10.37am: The judge says that both parties have submitted more material in the last few days, Esther Addley tweets. “They shouldn’t have done,” he tells the court.
10.35am: The hearing has begun.
10.15am: Esther Addley tweets:
10.10am: Julian Assange today returns to Belmarsh magistrates court in south-east London to learn if he will be extradited to Sweden on a European arrest warrant. The case was heard over two-and-a-half days earlier this month.
The defence argued the Swedish prosecutor had no authority to ask for Assange’s extradition under the warrant, and furthermore that extradition could not be for questioning. The barrister representing the Swedish prosecutor said the intention was to prosecute him and that the allegations made against Assange by two Swedish women would be offences under English law too.
Esther Addley is back at the court and tweeting. Here is her curtain-raising report from this morning:
The most serious of the four allegations relates to an accusation that Assange, during a visit to Stockholm in August, had sex with a woman, Miss B, while she was sleeping and without a condom, against her consent. Three counts of sexual assault are also alleged against another woman, Miss A. If found guilty of the rape charge he could face up to four years in prison.
Since there is no system of bail in Sweden, he would be detained in custody if extradited until a possible trial or release.
Assange denies the allegations. The hearing begins at 10.30am.
• This report is compiled by Simon Jeffery at the Guardian based on the Twitter feed of Esther Addley at Belmarsh magistrates’ court