Mike Hosking: Assange getting off would set a dangerous precedent

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Wed, 20 Jan 2021, 9:20PM
Julian Assange at an earlier court appearance. (Photo / AP)
Julian Assange at an earlier court appearance. (Photo / AP)

Mike Hosking: Assange getting off would set a dangerous precedent

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Wed, 20 Jan 2021, 9:20PM

A lot of us sadly would have missed the Julian Assange decision over the holidays – when he won and lost.

The appeal is on, so it’s far from over, but it would seem if you can convince a judge in Britain that you’ll take your life should you be sent to America, that’s enough to keep you from going to America  and facing justice.

The extradition attempt by the Americans was turned down on health grounds. The judge was not convinced that the system and procedures as offered by the Americans would prevent Assange from committing suicide.

On the legal aspects, he actually lost: the judge went through his teams various arguments against extradition ranging from politics to time limits and rejected them all.

As indeed she should have, based, as far as I can work out, on the fact that there seems no disputing the fact that Assange handled stolen goods and passed them onto others.

And, as such the people, whose property was nicked, i.e. the Americans, want a word, and I would imagine a fairly lengthy term of confinement should the trial go their way.

What has been lost, deliberately, over the years, is that part of the argument from the Assange camp appears to be about press freedom and how it trumps criminal activity. In other words, if your legal material is good enough, laws don’t count.

They are wrong of course and they know it. Hence instead of defending his position and offering himself up to the feds, he went and hid in the embassy until everyone got fully sick of him and the poms dragged him out to Belmarsh.

Which is where he remains, given the second part of proceedings involved him applying for bail and it not being granted. And nor should it. The court not surprisingly saw him as a flight risk

So how is any of this fair on the Americans? All they want is a thief back. And to press some charges for that theft.

The evidence will either convict him or not, but in not giving them the chance is this not justice denied. And denied on an idea, the idea that you can be convincing enough to have a judge believe you’re a risk to your own life.

There is no proof of that, it’s not evidence based. It’s just a thought, a prediction driven by fear, a seed of doubt cast.

Is that justice? I wouldn’t have thought so.

And if he gets away with it if he never returns to the states, how dangerous is the precedent set? Fear beats fact.

As long as you’re allegedly suicidal over your actions, your actions don’t matter.