1/6/2020 at Westminster Magistrates Court – Julian #Assange Administrative hearing

It is extremely important every single time that Julian Assange’s case is in court, media and public attend the hearings and witness the events. In this, the most important Press Freedom case our societies have grappled with for 100 years we see a publisher pilloried by the establishment he embarrassed with his publications. But as he stands trapped at the pillory he is met by a cheering crowd and not by pillory’s archetypal ravenous mob. He is a hero and an inspiration to nations around the world.

We delivered to the Court listings clerk a petition for District Judge Vanessa Baraitser

We had to dealt with a policeman who told us the court building was private property, and requested we removed our banner from the railing whilst surprisingly he was in plain clothing and refused to explain why he was not wearing his uniform.

Only five members of the public were admitted to court number 10 due to covid-19 social distancing rules. You can read freelance Journalist Mohamed El Maazi’s report from the court at Sputnik here, and Australian Associated Press Marty Silk article for AAP here.

The court’s police liaison officer (this time wearing his uniform) provided us with telephone dial-in access to the court proceeding. To my great disappointment we were not given instructions on how to do this. When I dialed in and the poor sound quality prevented me from hearing anything I approached the court clerk to complain and ask for assistance. She was not able to assist, but I had a 1 minute conversation with her on this issue. Unbeknown to me this conversation was being overheard by all dial-in participants! that is to say the court telephone dial in system had no administrator monitoring the dial-in, and there was no provision about muting the audience! simply unbelievable lack of organisation. Luckily I was alerted at the fact and was able to keep quiet for the rest of the proceedings. I must say that whilst I was grateful for the access, sitting outside the court room, I could hear Vanessa Baraiter’s voice slightly better through the court room wall rather than the phone-in. But here is a report from someone who was inside the court.

District Judge Vanessa Baraitser began by saying that she could not yet advise a venue for the remaining part of the Extradition hearing in September.

Report by EF Press:

10am Westminster Magistrates Court 3 sitting in 10. 5 Press, 5 Public and teleconferencing for counsel. A number of the public were denied entry due to plague (covid-19) restrictions currently in force. Judge Baraitser immediately questioned Julian’s counsel whether Julian had refused to attend via video link. Fitzgerald responded that he could not attend due being unwell and the facilities at Belmarsh were unsafe for him to get to the video room.

Baraitser moved swiftly on to counsel for the prosecution. ‘What is your backstop date for a psychiatric report?’ Lewis claimed he could not give a date as they were having difficulty with access at Belmarsh. Ironic, considering the defence have been saying the same for over a year. ‘Any date I give will be a guess’ Lewis moaned, Baraitser, ‘Give me your best guess, then’ and without pause, ‘It has to be before 7 August for a 14 day response. 31st July in relation to both psychiatric reports.

The Judge continued with dates for skeleton arguments and responses. Fitzgerald proposed 25th August for the arguments to be submitted and Lewis suggested 1st September for responses. Which appeared to be agreed by Baraitser. Then she set the date for the next case management hearing on 29 June 2020 with Julian to attend via video link. All rise, case over.

A brief hearing. Baraitser started out in a bad mood and continued with both defence and prosecution, hurtling through the arrangements to set deadlines and submissions. Reserving her best lines for Prosecution counsel Lewis in demanding a guess, tired by a lack of response, then setting the dates herself. Lewis overcautious to the point of not being heard. A good sign for the defence. Looking forward to the full trial one can only suspect that such prosecutorial lapses will be covered by Baraitser’s rulings on evidence eligibility and witness statements. However, anyone familiar with legal process and precedent can clearly see the political element to Julian’s trial and the overwhelming evidence in his support as well as the trove of Wikileaks publications that prove far greater crimes than alleged espionage and computer intrusion. It proves once again that the Extradition bench of Westminster Magistrates Court is unfit, ill equipped, and too politically compromised to deliver no more than a show trial to appease their US masters.

Joe Brack EF Press

As you can see from the report this Administrative court hearing (where the prisoner is produced to court and the judge declared he should continue to be detained) was also a Case Management hearing, whilst he was unable to be produced since he was unwell. Julian Assange was once more unable to participate in his defence.

WikiLeaks supporters championing the Freedom of Julian Assange staged an action at Regents Park after attending Court hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court.

Chris Williamson defended our Free Speech rights

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3 Responses to 1/6/2020 at Westminster Magistrates Court – Julian #Assange Administrative hearing

  1. Jamie says:

    Thank you Joe for an informative and helpful report on what happend in yesterday’s hearing. The shameful treatment of dear Julian continues. I note that Doctors for Assange have written again the the MOJ to express their concern for Julian. We keep fighting.

  2. Thanks for this report. I requested telephone access and was sent instructions 45 minutes before the hearing began, however I was unable to successfully get through. The line was always busy. I phoned in to the last hearing without any problem.

    • Jamie says:

      Thanks to all you brilliant supporters!!! You have my total respect!! Your bravery and determination shows the UK Government, Courts & Prison that what they are doing is a disgrace. Julian is our hero and we will keep fighting, until he is free. FREE JULIAN ASSANGE!

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