Assange in court today

Judges hold preliminary appeal hearing

Two judges in the High Court will be dealing with a preliminary issue this morning in the extradition case against Julian Assange.

The US government wants the Wikileaks founder to face trial in the US on charges of conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defence information. In January, District Judge Baraitser ruled that it would be oppressive to extradite him. Last month, Mr Justice Swift granted the US permission to appeal to the High Court on three of the five grounds in its application for permission. I explained what we know of Swift’s reasons last week.

Today’s hearing is before Lord Justice Holroyde and Mrs Justice Farbey. It starts at 10.30 and is expected to conclude before lunch. The judges will be sitting in the largest courtroom in the Royal Courts of Justice in London with a video link to an adjoining courtroom. The hearing will take place remotely — which I understand to mean that not everyone involved will be present in court.

It’s understood that the US will be renewing its request for permission to appeal on the two grounds dismissed by Swift. These related to the evidence of a defence psychiatrist and the risk that Assange would commit suicide. Swift found that Baraitser’s findings were reasonably open to her and her conclusions on the disputed evidence were also reasonable. He said the matters referred to in the application for permission to appeal — we have no idea what these were — “are no more than an attempt to re-run determination of the evidential disputes reached by the district judge”.

Comment

I’m sorry that this account is vague and almost certainly incomplete. The Crown Prosecution Service, which represents requesting governments in extradition cases, and Gareth Peirce, Assange’s solicitor, are not briefing the media about these proceedings. I am sure they are acting on the instructions of their respective clients.

However, the proceedings are now in open court and arrangements have been made for the press and public to watch the hearing. I plan to live-tweet this morning’s proceedings.

Update 2.45pm:

The US has been granted permission to appeal on the two grounds dismissed by Swift. The hearing will take place on 27 and 28 October.

Assurances

We now have full details of the assurances offered by the US in the event that Assange is extradited: