Westminster Magistrates’ Court, 25 March 2020 Julian Assange Administrative Court Hearing, Bail Application

Report by Tom

The court was 1 hour late to commence, the official told us that they had to get Julian. This reminds me of the December hearing, scheduled for the morning it was rescheduled for the afternoon, we were told that there was a mix up at Belmarsh. When Julian did arrive the prison van was accompanied by an ambulance.

There was a rumour that they put Julian in a hot box prior to these outings to disorient him. Had they over cooked him?

Reports from the court that day Julian was very disoriented and barely able to say his name and date of birth.

Today, is the management at Belmarsh really so incompetent that they could not get him the few meters to the video conferencing room in time? Did he need a bit more time in the oven?

The Judge magistrate announced that the precious resource of video conference time only allowed 15 minutes for Julian to be involved in the court. This resource that we all enjoy almost limitless time with, HMP Belmarsh can only afford 15 minutes.

The prosecution was asked to open the hearing with the case to not grant bail. The prosecution’s case was much as you would expect, flight risk and would engage in journalism if not silenced etc…

Edward Fitzgerald QC replied and presented the case for the defence, making the point about Julia’s health and quoting various doctors and other sources. He also made the point that Julian’s isolation has again increased as there is no visiting now, including access to his lawyers. QC also noted that he had tried to visit Julian recently but was unable to as there were 100 staff from the prison not at work as they found it necessary to isolate themselves.

Edward QC told the court that he wanted to use a witness statement from Julian’s partner to provide evidence that the family connections would keep Julian from wanting to abscond but he did not want to give the name in the court.


The Judge magistrate indicated that to use this statement the name should be disclosed.
Edward QC said that to disclose the name of the witness he should confer with Julian to get permission, every one left she court room so that Edward QC and Julian could discuss the matter in private.

When all returned to the court, The Judge magistrate made note that the proceedings of the court were being recorded and that the private conversation was captured on that recording, said that Edward QC could apply to have the recording deleted, I am not sure whether Edward QC said he would make the application or not, but chances are if you ever apply for a transcript of this court proceedings they won’t exist. With all the electronic listening devices in the room and indeed that the conversation was via video link, is there even a remote possibility that it was a private conversation, without the prosecution and Judge magistrate listening in?

Julian was not present via video link for the rest of the court proceedings.

Edward QC reported that Julian did not want the name of the witness released but if it were absolutely necessary then to do it. It should not be necessary as the Judge magistrate and the prosecution both knew the name. The prosecution brought an example of a case or reference to a law that said if the safety of children was involved then it should be withheld. (yes, again the prosecution brought up and argument for use of the defence). The Judge magistrate said that it involved the press and invited the press to contribute. One member of the press suggested that he thought the name of the witness should be spoken in the court room and that the Judge magistrate put a suppression order to prevent the press from publishing the name (but nothing to stop me from blabbing it all over town). The Judge magistrate seemed to support this interpretation.

Did I hear that right, the Judge magistrate asked advice from the press gallery?
I am not sure what the final out come of this discussion was but the name was not spoken in the court and the Judge magistrate had earlier indicated that it would probably not make a material difference to the decision of the court any way. She was true to her word and was not influenced by this or any other event or argument that had transpired in the court that day. This discussion about whether to or not speak the witness name in court used up most of the time in court that day.

The Judge magistrate summed up by reading a lengthy statement that included the dates of all Julian’s alleged transgressions and concluded that Julian could not be bailed. The Judge magistrate must have taken hours and probably days to prepare that statement and no event or testimony that occurred in the court was likely to get her to waste all that hard work. Any reference to medical expert testimonies was ignored or dismissed.
Apart from saying his name and replying to “can you hear” Julian did not participate in the court, one more time he is a witness to his own prosecution (persecution).
The outcome of this court was preordained, decided long before the court sat.

“All rise” we are supposed to stand to show respect as the Judge magistrate left the court, I remained seated.

Gallery | This entry was posted in Assange, WikiLeaks and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Westminster Magistrates’ Court, 25 March 2020 Julian Assange Administrative Court Hearing, Bail Application

  1. Bill Hedley says:

    Yes! You did hear right. The Judge did invite representation from the press gallery. From the manner in which the judge addressed the press it appeared that this may have been triggered by visual indications from the press, although such gestures would not be seen from the public gallery. It leaves the lay observer scratching ones head some in order to figure who actually has rights of address in this court. In contrast it should be noted that the real journalist, the defendant at the other end of the video link during the earlier part of the proceeding prior to this exchange, was invited to address the court directly at no stage during the proceeding, and indeed gained no advantage so.

  2. Tom,
    Did the court discuss any offers from the defence for mitigating flight risk?
    Just seems like something the defence might put forward if they were making an application on medical grounds

Leave a Reply