A judgment on whether to lift a UK arrest warrant against Julian Assange will be made on Tuesday.
Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot last week rejected his legal team’s argument that the warrant issued in 2012 was no longer valid because an investigation by the Swedish authorities into a sex-related allegation had been dropped.
But the WikiLeaks founder’s lawyers went on to argue at Westminster Magistrates’ Court that it was no longer proportionate or in the public interest to pursue him for failing to answer bail at a police station as he fought extradition to Sweden.
Jennifer Robinson, a lawyer representing Julian Assange, outside Westminster Magistrates Court,(John Stilwell/PA)
Mr Assange claimed his case had exposed “improper conduct” by the Crown Prosecution Service and his legal team’s case could still be successful.
He has accused the UK Government of a “cover up” to keep him detained.
Mr Assange has been living inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for more than five years, fearing extradition to the United States for questioning over the activities of WikiLeaks if he leaves.
His lawyer, Mark Summers QC, told the court last week there were four main reasons why his case should be discontinued, including that Mr Assange was justified in seeking refuge in the embassy because he had legitimate fears he would be sought by authorities in the US.
He added: “Secondly, that the UN has ruled that his situation at present is arbitrary, unreasonable and disproportionate.
“Thirdly, that his conduct did not have the usual consequence of paralysing the underlying legal proceedings.
“At all times he offered his co-operation to the Swedish investigation.
“Fourthly, the last five-and-a-half years that he has spent may be thought to be adequate, if not severe punishment, for the actions that he took.”
He said emails uncovered by a Freedom of Information request showed the Swedish prosecutor had been advised by a case lawyer at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that Mr Assange should be interviewed in Sweden.
“It (the correspondence) records that the CPS had already advised that it would not be prudent for Sweden to try to interview Mr Assange in the UK,” he said.
“When I say the CPS, I mean the particular CPS lawyer who conducted this case.
“He records his reasoning as such: ‘The defence would without any doubt seek to turn the event to its own advantage’.
“Mr Assange sought to engage with the underlying process, requested to be interviewed in order to further it and the delay between 2012 and 2016, in which nothing happened, was the result, it appears, of advice that Sweden had received from a CPS lawyer.”
Jennifer Robinson, one of Mr Assange’s legal team, said: “Mr Assange remains ready to face British justice and to resolve any outstanding matters related to his seeking protection in the Ecuadorian embassy – but not at the risk of being forced to face American injustice for exercising the freedom to publish.”