A psychiatrist withheld evidence from Julian Assange’s first extradition hearing, which showed that he had two children while living in Ecuadorean embassy. This was a court’s ruling.
Michael Kopelman, of King’s College London, was accused of failing to reveal Assange had babies with his lawyer Stella Moris in the Ecuadorean Embassy.
Lawyers for the Assange told the High Court he spoke to defence solicitor Gareth Peirce, 80, about identifying Ms Moris and the children.
Edward Fitzgerald, QC, said: ‘Ms Peirce indicated that she believed that such identification be temporarily postponed.’
He said the psychiatrist, who gave key evidence on Assange’s mental state, had admitted withholding details to protect the family’s privacy.
But the US government claims a district judge who blocked the extradition should have ruled out Kepelman’s evidence after it emerged he had misled her.
Michael Kopelman (pictured), of King’s College London, was accused of failing to reveal Assange had babies with his lawyer Stella Moris in the Ecuadorean Embassy
Lawyers for the Assange (pictured in a court sketch earlier this week) told the High Court he spoke to defence solicitor Gareth Peirce, 80, about identifying Ms Moris and the children
Edward Fitzgerald, QC said: “Ms. Peirce indicated she believed that such identification should be temporarily postponed.” Pictured yesterday by Ms Moris
After a two-day hearing at High Court, Assange must wait until senior judges decide whether they will overturn the decision not to extradite Assange to the USA.
The 50-year old is wanted by the US for conspiracy to obtain and divulge national defense information after WikiLeaks published hundreds of thousands of leaked documents related to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
The US authorities are challenging a January decision by Vanessa Baraitser, then-district judge, that Assange shouldn’t be sent to the US. She cited a real and oppressive’ suicide risk.
Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett sat alongside Lord Justice Holroyde and said that lawyers had given him’much’ and that they would take time to reflect on their decision’ at Thursday’s end of legal arguments.
Supporters of Assange, who were only able to join the hearing via video-link on Wednesday from Belmarsh prison, protested outside the Royal Courts of Justice during the court proceedings.
The court was informed that Assange’s mental health risks made it difficult for him to be removed to the USA.
Assange can be seen looking out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, in a photograph taken in 2016.
Yesterday, supporters of Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, protested outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
James Lewis QC, US District Judge, stated that Assange’s “intellectual ability circumvent suicide preventative steps” was the basis of her decision. This could be a ‘trumpcard’ for anyone who wants to oppose their extradition, regardless of the resources available to them.
He said to the court that the decision of the district judge was based solely on the risk that Assange would have to be subjected special administrative measures (SAMs), as well as being held at the ADX Florence Supermax jail if Assange is extradited.
He said that four ‘binding” diplomatic assurances had been made to him, including that it would consent for him to be transferred to Australia to complete any sentence he may have. This would ‘fundamentally alter the factual basis’ for her judgment.
Mr Lewis claimed that the assurances could never have been given in advance and said they were a reactive’ and ‘responsible’ response to the findings of the district judge.
He said that they were a solemn matter’, and ‘aren’t dished up like smarties.
The US authorities also claimed Assange is well enough for extradition. Mr Lewis stated to the court that his mental illness “doesn’t even come close” to being severe enough to prevent him being sent to the US.
Lawyers for Assange, who opposed the US’s effort to overturn the US block to his extradition argument that the assurances about the WikiLeaks founder’s potential treatment were’meaningless’ and ‘vague’.
After a brief appearance yesterday outside the Royal Courts of Justice, Jeremy Corbyn, a former Labour leader, leaves.
Fitzgerald QC stated that the “qualified and conditional guarantees” were made ‘too late for proper testing’ and ‘does not undermine the principal findings’ of the district court who applied law’strictly, entirely correctly’.
He stated that the district judge had made a ‘carefully considered, fully reasoned judgment’ and added that it was clear she had’scrupulously applied her test for oppression when there is a mental disorder’.
He stated that he believed it was oppressive to extradite a mentally ill person because his extradition could lead to his death. He added that a court must be able use its power to “protect people from extradition into a foreign country where we have no control over the outcome.”
He said that the conclusion of the district judge was ‘justified’ as Assange would be driven by his disorder to commit suicide, regardless of any preventative measures taken.
Fitzgerald dismissed the assurances, calling them ‘caveated and vague’ or ‘ineffective’. He also stated that none of the assurances offered any concession or assurance against existing US practice.
Stella Moris (right), Assange’s partner, and WikiLeaks editor in chief Kristinn Hrafnsson arrive at the court yesterday
He said that Assange’s assurances not to impose any special administrative measures (SAMs), or keep him at the ADX Florence Supermax prison pre-trial or after-conviction does not eliminate the risk of ‘conditions administrative isolation’.
The court also heard Assange’s account of a’menacing. threatening and frightening’ situation while he was under surveillance in London, Ecuador’s embassy.
In written submissions, Fitzgerald argued that claims regarding ‘extreme measures surveillance’ and subsequent disclosures concerning CIA plans from the same time period to gravely harm Julian Assange justified earlier concerns about Stella Moris’ safety.
Assange was also represented by Mark Summers QC. He said that it was necessary to examine the ‘trustworthiness” of US assurances and highlighted that there was a ‘credible evidence’ of US government plans to do serious damage to Mr Assange.
Since 2019, Assange has been in Belmarsh Prison after he was taken out of the Ecuadorian Embassy by police and then arrested for violating his bail conditions.
He had entered the building in 2012 in order to avoid extradition to Sweden for sex offence accusations, which he denied and was eventually dropped.