An Interview with Julian Assang’s lawyer

Jack of Kent, the famous legal blogger, had a brief (informal) telephone interview with his friend and fellow libel reform campaigner Mark Stephens as he was in a cab going to Wandsworth Prison to see his client Julian Assange,  then blogged about it all. It makes fasinating reading … here are some extracts …

Mark told me that Julian Assange is currently in the very same cell that was occupied by Oscar Wilde before the latter’s transfer to Reading Gaol. His client is not allowed to have any internet access, and nor has the library trolley come round. He is being kept in isolation, even though he is a model prisoner

Why is Mark adopting the extraordinary litigation tactic of attacking the motives of the investigators and prosecutors in this case? He denied that he was making such any such attack, and that in fact he had no problem with the first prosecutor, who made the original decision to drop the case.

Mark also denied it was a tactic, and he emphasised that the circumstances behind this case were themselves extraordinary. The decision to renew the formal prosecution process after it was first abandoned, Mark maintained, was a clear example of political interference based on the electoral interests of the senior prosecutor involved. Mark said that it was correct to call this interference a “political stunt”. Moreover, the definition of “rape” in this case have been pushed beyond its proper limit by the prosecutors. Although Mark conceded he had been outspoken and critical on behalf of his client, it was the behaviour of the prosecutors which was outrageous.

In particular, Mark emphasised that the proper route all along would be for the prosecutors to meet with Julian. His client offered to do this in Sweden, and he would have been happy to have done it in London, either in person or by telephone, as long as information could be provided first as to the case against him. But the prosecutors refused this offer.

Mr Assange returns to the Westminster Magistrates’ Court today for an extradition hearing. The case continues.

To read the full posting in Jack-of-Kent’s legal blog, click here.

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