The Magistrate's Blog (2005-2012)

This blog has migrated to www.magistratesblog.blogspot.co.uk This blog is anonymous, and Bystander's views are his and his alone. Where his views differ from the letter of the law, he will enforce the letter of the law because that is what he has sworn to do. If you think that you can identify a particular case from one of the posts you are wrong. Enough facts are changed to preserve the truth of the tale but to disguise its exact source.

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Location: Near London, United Kingdom

The blog is written by a retired JP, with over 30 years' experience on the Bench.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Wiki Leaker Locked Up

There have been a few comments about the bail decision in the case of Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks figurehead. From the information available in the press, I don't think that I would have bailed him either.
Are there substantial grounds to fear that if granted bail he would abscond, commit further offences, or interfere with witnesses? We are dealing with the Swedish warrant alleging a sexual offence. He is clearly an international citizen without a job home or family in the UK. I have no idea how the Swedes deal with these matters, but on any analysis a conviction is likely to lead to a prison sentence, albeit in the relatively humane Swedish system. That must be an incentive to abscond. What conditions could address this fear? Sureties or securities from very rich people wh do not even know him don't mean a lot. If Ms. Jemima Khan (Née Goldsmith) were to lose £20,000, that would very likely be less than she spends on her hairdresser in a year. It might be a price worth paying to get her protégé on his way. So inside he must go, I'm afraid.

And this is the Swedish warrant. If America's rage and frustration turns to a determination to make an example of Assange, then he could be looking at 20 years or more in the barbarous hellhole of a Supermax jail. If that isn't an incentive to do a runner, I don't know what is.