Topic: Julian Assange Trial 8th of February today version3. Reply to Topic

Posted: February 9, 2011 in Uncategorized
  • Day one

    7th of February tweet as follows.

    5.30pm:CloseLink to this update: Speaking outside court after the hearing, Assange said:

    For the past five-and-a-half months we have been in a condition where a black box has been applied to my life. On the outside of that black box has been written the word ‘rape’. That box is now, thanks to an open court process, been opened.

    I hope over the next day we will see that that box is in fact empty and has nothing to do with the words that are on the outside of it. We have seen that today and I would like to thank my supporters and my lawyers for continuing to help me. A process like this surely lets you understand who your friends are.

    Live blog: recap

    4.30pm summary:CloseLink to this update: The hearing has now finished for the day. Here is what happened:

    • Clare Montgomery QC, for the crown, and Geoffrey Robertson QC, for the defence, made their opening arguments. Robertson concentrated on what he said was the impossibility of a fair trial for Assange in Sweden and disputed that the allegations state there was no consent. He said all happened within the context of consensual sex. Montgomery said in her opening that both the alleged rape and three counts of sexual assault were without consent and also offences under English law, therefore “extraditable”.

    • Montgomery made an early rebuttal of the defence argument that Assange could not be extradited for questioning, only prosecution. She said the warrant brought against Assange “clearly denotes a sufficient intention to prosecute”. Robertson disputed that it could be a prosecuting warrant when Assange had been interrogated with no charges brought.

    • Defence witness Brita Sundberg-Weitman, a retired Swedish judge, made an eye-catching attack on the “malicious” Swedish prosecutor. She said Marianne Ny had a “rather biased view against men” and is “so preoccupied with the situation of battered women and raped women that she has lost balance”. She was also cross-examined on the proportionality of the European arrest warrant by Montgomery, to which she replied that while she did not believe it was she acknowledged that two Swedish courts had.

    • Robertson made technical arguments disputing the authority of Ny to serve a European arrest warrant .

    • The hearing will resume at 10am tomorrow.

    4.05pm:CloseLink to this update: Before Rudling moves on to being cross-examined by Montgomery, he tells the court Swedish cannot distinguish between “want” and “consent”.

    Rudung: swedes can’t tell diff betw ‘want’ and ‘consent’. For ex I don’t want to be X-examined but doesn’t make it a crimeless than a minute ago via txtesther addley

    When Montgomery picks up the questioning, she asks him how much of the police file he has read (he says 100 pages; she says what he has seen is witness statements sent to Assange’s lawyer) and asks him if he knows why woman A deleted the tweets. She says woman A said she erased the tweets to avoid media attention.

    And with that the cross-examination ends. The hearing is adjourned to 10am tomorrow.

    3.55pm:CloseLink to this update: Rudling tells the court of a seven-point plan for revenge written by woman A in January 2010 and proceeds to translate each one from Swedish.

    3.45pm:CloseLink to this update: Rudling is taking questions on woman A’s tweets. He says he contacted police after she deleted tweets from 14 and 15 August showing she had been happy with Assange. The tweets referred to a crayfish party where woman A said she was with “the coolest people in the world”. Rudling says he is not a supporter of Assange or WikiLeaks.

    3.35pm:CloseLink to this update: Robertson asks further questions of Sundberg-Weitman, producing English-language press releases from the Swedish prosecutor about the Assange case and asking “Is this normal?” She says no. He also asks if Ny was talking to press through the investigation period. Sundberg-Weitman says she saw her on TV.

    Sundberg-Weitman is discharged and a second witness sworn in. It is Göran Rudling, who is described as a blogger and campaigner on Swedish rape laws, who thinks they are not strict enough since they don’t include consent.

    3.10pm:CloseLink to this update: Montgomery’s cross-examination is now on Sundberg-Weitman’s description of the Swedish prosecutor as “malicious”.

    Montgomery leading BSW thru statement fm Sw Pros wch led her to call her ‘malicious’. Stage by stage asking ‘what is wrong with that’? # …less than a minute ago via txtesther addley

    Other court tweeters have described the exchange as torturous.

    The retired judge earlier told Montgomery that she may be right when the QC said that a case does not have to have reached a specific point before a European arrest warrant is issued.

    2.40pm:CloseLink to this update: A translator has been called in so Sundberg-Weitman can understand prosecuting QC Montgomery’s questions. Questioning has so far focused on whether the European arrest warrant served on Assange is proportional. Sundberg-Weitman says she does not believe so, but accepts that both the Swedish district court and an appeal court believed that it was.

    Esther Addley tweets that Sundberg-Weitman has also contradicted herself under questioning on whether Assange’s Swedish lawyer, Björn Hurtig, was present at the appeal. Several tweets from the court note that the retired judge does not appear to have a very high opinion of the Swedish justice system, saying the rule of law there has been decaying since the mid 1970s; also that Montgomery is a formidable cross-examiner.

    2.20pm:CloseLink to this update: The court is returning from lunch.

    Resuming shortly at court 3. Not clear, btw, if we’ll get a ruling tomo, crown barrister says unlikely #assangeless than a minute ago via txtesther addley

    Coming this afternoon is prosecution cross-examination of Sundberg-Weitman and another defence witness.

    1.30pm:CloseLink to this update: The court has risen for lunch. Here is Esther Addley on the first morning’s session – and the evidence of the first defence witness, retired Swedish appeal judge Brita Sundberg-Weitman.

    12.05pm:CloseLink to this update: A Press Assocation report summarising Robertson’s earlier arguments on what he said was the impossibility of a fair trial in Sweden:

    Mr Robertson argued that the huge amount of press coverage of events created a risk that Assange would receive a “trial by media”.

    Front-page newspaper articles have described his client as a coward for refusing to return to Sweden and face justice, he said, adding: “There’s a danger this kind of media campaign, media vilification, will prejudice this secret trial.”

    He pointed out that rape trials in Sweden are often held behind closed doors and that, unless the public and press were allowed to witness proceedings, Assange would not receive a fair trial. “That’s a compelling argument that there’s a real risk of a flagrant violation of his rights,” he said.

    “Given the amount of vilification throughout the world that Mr Assange has faced – he’s been accused of being a coward and of vicious behaviour – it’s obviously unfair he should be taken under this warrant and then ushered into a secret court and then convicted or even acquitted. Even if he’s acquitted, the stigma will remain.”

    11.54am:CloseLink to this update: Robertson’s “more technical matters” (see 11.47am) are whether Ny, the Swedish prosecutor, was authorised to issue a European arrest warrant. The prosecuting QC addressed this as she outlined her case, saying that she was (see 10.26am). Robertson disputes this.

    11.47am:CloseLink to this update: Robertson is now onto the conduct of the Swedish prosecutor. He says Assange was willing to be interviewed on Skype at either the Swedish embassy in London or Scotland Yard but his offer was not accepted, so the European arrest warrant lacks proportionality. He says that Assange also offered himself for interview when he was in Sweden.

    He concludes his opening (before moving on to “more technical matters”) by outling the four key points of his argument – unfair trial, double criminality, minor rape and proportionality.

    11.40am:CloseLink to this update: Robertson is continuing on the woman B allegations. He says there were “three utterly consensual acts” then a fourth with no condom “but she let him continue”. He adds that the two then had a jokey conversation.

    11.31am:CloseLink to this update: Robertson is now onto the rape allegations brought by woman B. He says the prosecution describes this as “minor rape”. He says: “That’s a contradiction in terms. Rape is not a minor charge.” He says what Swedish law calls minor rape is not called rape in other jurisdictions, since it does not involve coercion, force or a lack of consent. “It’s not natural to call this rape,” he says.

    11.26am:CloseLink to this update: Robertson says it is “hyperbolic and irrational to suggest there was wickedness involved”. He also says police are not “entitled to slip under the bedclothes”.

    11.22am:CloseLink to this update: Robertson moves on to the charges. He says none of the three brought by woman A state there was no consent. Woman A, he says, “admits she did consent” and all happened within the context of consensual sex. He adds that she asked Assange to put on a condom and he did.

    11.18am:CloseLink to this update: Robertson has said that Assange would not get bail in Sweden but be held “incommunicado”, perhaps to “soften him up for interrogation”.

    11.15am:CloseLink to this update: Robertson has moved onto Claes Borgström, the Swedish lawyer representing the two complainants. He describes him as “a politician who has been retained by these women”. He says “this man Borgström” has villified Assange and would be in jail for contempt of court if he was in the UK. (He says Borgström leaked the charges to the Swedish press.)

    11.04am:CloseLink to this update: And now Geoffrey Robertson QC is speaking for the defence. His opening argument is that Assange would not get a fair trial in Sweden because rape trials are held in the absence of the press or public. He describes such a closed-door trial as presenting the “risk of flagrant denial of justice”.

    11.01am:CloseLink to this update: Montgomery has moved on to the Swedish justice system. She says Assange would get a fair trial and the possibility that extradition to Sweden would be followed by extradition to the US is a “hypothesis” that has not yet been established as a real risk. Montgomery adds that the UK would need to give its consent if a subsequent extradition too place.

    10.56am:CloseLink to this update: Björn Hurtig, Assange’s Swedish lawyer, will be cross-examined tomorrow, Montgomery says. It seems this will deal with defence claims that Assange has not seen the evidence against him and that he was offered for interview when he was in Sweden.

    10.46am:CloseLink to this update: Montgomery is addressing a key part of the defence argument, that Assange cannot be extradited for questioning, only for prosecution.

    She says the European arrest warrant brought against Assange “clearly denotes a sufficient intention to prosecute” and the fact that questioning may be required does not undermine its main purpose. “There is no reason for any doubt for the purpose of the warrant, namely that it is for the purpose of prosecution,” she says.

    Interrogation before prosecution is how the Swedish system proceeds in such cases, she says.

    10.41am:CloseLink to this update: Back to Montgomery, who is representing the prosecution. She says that the three counts of sexual assault which Assange is accused of by woman A were also “without consent” and are therefore illegal under English law.

    10.40am:CloseLink to this update: Some colour from the Press Association report on Assange’s earlier arrival:

    Supporters of the WikiLeaks founder whooped and clapped as he was driven through the security gates in a silver London taxi.

    Some of them, dressed in orange Guantanamo Bay-style boiler suits and armed with anti-American placards, had been waiting since 8am

    The “rubbish-strewn dual carriageway” running alongside the court was “lined with television trucks festooned with satellite dishes”, it adds, while Bianca Jagger was told she could not jump the queue.

    10.33am:CloseLink to this update: Montgomery says that the definition of rape in Swedish law is comparable to the definition in UK law so the case is “extraditable”. Of the woman who has made the allegation, she says: “Mr Assange had sexual intercourse with her and exploited the fact that she was asleep.” She says this is also an offence in English law.

    10.26am:CloseLink to this update: Clare Montgomery QC, acting for the prosecution, has begun to make her case. She says that the Swedish prosecutor, Marianne Ny (see 10.04am), has been identified as an issuing authority for the European arrest warrant.

    10.24am:CloseLink to this update: The two complainants will be referred to as A and B, the court decides. Woman A accuses Assange of three counts of sexual assault, woman B accuses him of rape.

    10.14am:CloseLink to this update: Assange has confirmed his name and address to the judge. The hearing has begun.

    10.10am:CloseLink to this update: Slight delay. Esther Addley has been spotting who is in the court. Baroness Helena Kennedy, civil rights lawyer, is on Assange’s legal team while Tony Benn, Bianca Jagger, Gavin MacFadyen, Andrew O’Hagan, Vaughan Smith and Jemima Khan are in the public gallery. She adds that Assange is “smiling, joking with male and female guards next to him in dock.”

    10.04am:CloseLink to this update: The first item in the seven-point defence argument is that the Swedish prosecutor does not have the authority to issue a European arrest warrant (how Sweden is seeking to extradite Assange). According to the argument published last month, Assange’s defence team cites a previous case that established that the Swedish National Police Board was the country’s sole issuing authority.

    10.02am:CloseLink to this update: Assange is sat down and the hearing is about to begin. (Several media tweeters are however still in the queue. And tweeting about it.)

    9.50am:CloseLink to this update: Who, you may ask, is Andrew O’Hagan? Well, he is a Scottish writer and novelist who is also rumoured to be Assange’s ghostwriter. And he has been seen at the court as part of Assange’s party. “That’s one rumour confirmed, then?” tweets Esther Addley.

    9.45am:CloseLink to this update: Esther Addley tweets that the court is filling up:

    So far have seen press from Aus, NZ, Germany, France, US. 40 tickets in court, 60 in an annexe, court said could fill “many times over”

    Other tweets reveal that, as some were expecting, Tony Benn has joined Assange’s high-profile supporters at the court (Jemima Khan already there).

    9.30am:CloseLink to this update: Julian Assange has arrived at Belmarsh magistrates’ court in south-east London for the first day of what is expected to be a two-day extradition hearing. He is wanted for questioning in Sweden over allegations of rape, molestation and unlawful coercion, made by two women over 10 days in August. He denies the charges.

    His defence team will publish its full argument at 10am. A skeleton version was published last month and you can read a summary here. His defence lawyers contend that Assange cannot be extradited without being charged; he has been the victim of some abuses of process; and there is a risk that if he is extradited to Sweden, the US will then seek his extradition at some point over the embassy cables leak.

    The Swedish prosecutor has not yet made available its arguments.

    14 hours ago · Report

  • See the last post for details.

    14 hours ago · Report

  • Comments welcome but could we refrain from messing up real time based HH/MM tweets with tweets with 25 mins ago ect.

    Or refrain from tweets all togther. There is much room on this board for your own thread if you want to mess up the thread with random tweets.

    14 hours ago · Report

  • If it’s not going to be today, I’d like to know when they expect the judgement to be passed down.

    11 hours ago · Report

  • The prosecution is fighting back pretty hard.

    Tommorow I think the court will have its answer.

    11 hours ago · Report


    Some legal experts think unlikely we’ll get judgement 2day, Assange team say they don’t know. Crown said yesterday unlikely.


    5.05pm:CloseLink to this update: The court has now adjourned (Hurtig needed to catch a flight home). Closing arguments are set for 10.30am on Friday.

    5pm:CloseLink to this update: Robertson on the timing of Ny’s interview request:

    Robertson: Ny suggested I’viewing JA on 28 sept – 4 weeks after took over case, 5 1/2 weeks after alleged offencesless than a minute ago via txtesther addley
    Follow @estheraddley on Twitter

    Under cross examination from Robertson, Hurtig has described his error on the date of the Swedish prosecutor’s request as “embarrassing”. He said he had made sure to mention it so his evidence was correct.

    4.55pm:CloseLink to this update: Montgomery has finished and now Robertson, Assange’s QC, returns to cross examine Hurtig.

    4.40pm:CloseLink to this update: Hurtig (BH) admits he was mistaken when he said Ny had waited five weeks to interview Assange (JA) – he tells the court it was three:

    BH admits made error in statement, to JA’s favour, that suggested Ny had not tried to I’view JA B4 left sweden on 27/9/10less than a minute ago via txtesther addley
    Follow @estheraddley on Twitter

    He tells the court that he found the texts from Ny yesterday and is correcting the record today. He says he is busy and has many clients. (He has also said it is possible there were texts between him and Ny he can’t remember.)

    4.35pm:CloseLink to this update: Montgomery first asks Hurtig if he attempted to contact Assange on 27 September as soon as he was told about the Swedish prosecutor’s intention to arrest him. He says he made attempts to contact him. She then asks if it was possible he flew out of Sweden that day after Hurtig told him about the possibility of arrest. Hurtig replies “No”.

    4.15pm:CloseLink to this update: Back after the 10 minute break, Montgomery is asking Hurtig why he failed to contact Assange (JA) when Ny said she had wanted to speak to him:

    Montgomery still Xexamining: why cdnt u reach JA? Did u text him? leave a message? Hurtig: I assume so, don’t recallless than a minute ago via txtesther addley
    Follow @estheraddley on Twitter

    Hurtig says that it is important to bear in mind that Assange was diffcult to get hold of in mid to late September (see 2.50pm).

    4.10pm:CloseLink to this update: The judge is talking about extending the hearing to March, which means that it won’t finish today.

    3.57pm:CloseLink to this update: The court has broken for 10 minutes to allow Hurtig to check his records.

    3.55pm:CloseLink to this update: Hurtig is now being cross examined by Montgomery (representing the Swedish prosecutor). There is some dispute over the exact wording of a text from 22 September and she asks him to get his phone out and check the sent folder. He does, but says that his sent messages aren’t saved that far back. She then asks him to check two in his inbox from that time.

    3.30pm:CloseLink to this update: Hurtig’s summary of his contacts with Ny, some of which were by text message, has broadened out to some of the other details of the case. He says he had concluded the police were leaking plans to interview Assange to the press (which he describes as “appalling”) and that he had seen text messages from woman B where she describes herself as “half-asleep” when Assange began to have sex with her without a condom.

    Hurtig says he thought carefully about coming to the Belmarsh hearing because of the confidential nature of this evidence.

    2.50pm:CloseLink to this update: Hurtig (BH) says Assange was at one point difficult to get hold of because he was in hiding following the pronouncements of some US politicians.

    BH: thanks to ‘death threats’ fm US politicians JA was ‘worried’ (mid sept) ‘and he could be difficult to get hold of’less than a minute ago via txtesther addley
    Follow @estheraddley on Twitter

    Assange’s lawyer is also disputing the date when he was told by Ny of her intention to prosecute.

    2.35pm:CloseLink to this update: The hearing has resumed after lunch with the continuation of testimony from Björn Hurtig, Assange’s Swedish lawyer. He is going through the chronology of his contacts with Marianne Ny, the Swedish prosecutor, under questioning from Assange QC Geoffrey Robertson.

    1.20pm:CloseLink to this update: The court has broken for lunch. Shortly before, Robertson was running through Hurtig’s version of events – the court has already been told there are differences with Ny’s chronology.

    Hurtig is told he can’t speak to anyone during the break.

    1.15pm:CloseLink to this update: Hurtig has said that within a couple of hours of the Assange allegations being made on 20 August, there were 2-3m search returns online linking the WikiLeaks founder to rape.

    1.05pm:CloseLink to this update: The next witness is Assange’s Swedish lawyer, Björn Hurtig (BH), who is being cross-examined by Geoffrey Robertson QC (GR) for the defence.

    GR taking Hurtig through sheaf of docs relating to Svea appeal court. Submissions and judgement all in writing #assangeless than a minute ago via txtesther addley
    Follow @estheraddley on Twitter

    He is also questioned on the possibilty of public trials for rape defendents in Sweden. He says he acted for very high profile rape defendent in 2004-05 with much media attention. He says he asked for a public trial but was denied.

    In answer to a further question, he says there is no way he can protect his client from prejudical media coverage.

    12.35pm:CloseLink to this update: After some short questioning, Alhem is discharged with thanks from the judge for “coming all this way”. The court then rises for a short break.

    12.25pm:CloseLink to this update: Alhem says he believes it would be impossible for Assange to be extradited from Sweden to the US without a media storm. He says he is speaking not as an expert in extradition law but as a commentator.

    He tells the judge he is tired because he has been up since 4am but wishes to continue because he is enjoying the atmosphere.

    Jones, Assange’s junior counsel, will now return to questioning Alhem.

    12.10pm:CloseLink to this update: Montgomery has asked Alhem to not give “long lectures” in his answers; Alhem replies that he will answer “in my way”. There is also an exchange on whether Ny was right to issue a European arrest warrant – see Esther Addley’s tweet below for the retired Swedish prosecutor’s answer:

    Q: given her statement it was reasonable for Ms Ny to issue EAW? A. Certainly. Q and lawful? A quite right. No doubt about that

    Alhem though adds that he would have tried harder to interview Assange in the UK (see also 12pm).

    12.00pm:CloseLink to this update: Montgomery asks Alhem if he was the prosecutor in this case if he would have issued a European arrest warrant. Alhem says he would have detained Assange from the beginning.

    11.55am:CloseLink to this update: Montgomery is reading from Ny’s statement a chronology of her attempts to interview Assange in September and October last year.

    11.45am:CloseLink to this update: Montgomery has told Mark Stephens’, Assange’s lawyer, to “sit down”.

    11.40am:CloseLink to this update: Under cross-examination from Montgomery, Alhem says of Assange that if he was “in his shoes” he would have gone to Sweden immediately to clear his name.

    11.30am:CloseLink to this update: Clare Montgomery, QC for the Crown, is now cross-examining Alhem.

    11.15am:CloseLink to this update: Alhem is taking questions on procedural issues in Swedish prosecutions. He says it is a “golden rule” that a suspect is allowed to know what he or she is accused of before a prosecution can be brought. He also says there is no reason why Assange could not be questioned in the UK.

    11.05am:CloseLink to this update: Alhem is being asked about the conduct of the Swedish prosecutor, Marianne Ny. He says it was “completely against proper procedure” for her to confirm Assange’s name to the media. He also queries the use of “accused” in the documents, saying “suspect” is a better word.

    10.50am:CloseLink to this update: The hearing has resumed. Assange’s junior counsel, John Jones, is questioning defence witness Sven Erik Alhem, a retired Swedish prosecutor. He says he was critical of the handling of the case before Assange’s lawyers contacted him.

    10am:CloseLink to this update: Day two of Julian Assange’s extradition hearing.

    Assange and his legal team have arrived at Belmarsh magistrates’ court, and so too have his supporters. The hearing begins at 10.30am.

    Yesterday, the defence and prosecuting QCs made their opening arguments. Assange’s QC, Geoffrey Robertson, said his client would not get a fair trial in Sweden and called on a witness, retired Swedish judge Brita Sundberg-Weitman, who said the Swedish prosecutor had “a rather biased view against men in the treatment of of sexual offence cases.”

    Clare Montgomery QC, representing the Swedish prosecutor, said the allegations against Assange would be offences under English law and she should be extradited. She also said the Swedish prosecutor intends to prosecute. A key defence argument, made again yesterday, is that extradition cannot be for the purposes of questioning.

    8 hours ago · Report

  • Excellent.

    The court has now adjourned (Hurtig needed to catch a flight home). Closing arguments are set for 10.30am on Friday.

    We will more than likely get a verdict on friday.

    8 hours ago · Report

  • We did the best we could for collecting tweets now we wait till Friday

    8 hours ago · Report


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