back to article Julian Assange wins at hide-and-seek game against Sweden

Sweden's director of public prosecutions has today suspended an investigation into Julian Assange regarding rape allegations. The vitamin D-deprived WikiLeaks founder tweeted a pic of himself to celebrate the news: pic.twitter.com/dDvB1Vekhg — Julian Assange (@JulianAssange) May 19, 2017 The pale WikiLeaks boss has been …

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      1. macjules Silver badge

        In 5 years of washing his socks and the cat in the embassy guest loo, it seems that Mr Assange has spent an awfully large amount of time creating user accounts on The Register. Never seen so many down votes on even minor sceptical comments.

    1. Scorchio!!
      Thumb Up

      Yes. He's whining about it right now on the radio; when in the UK behave according to the laws, no matter what you think of them. I want him to receive the same treatment that any other individual would in this country.

      1. Truckle The Uncivil

        The same treatment Laurie Love is receiving? Duck Fat.

      2. Truckle The Uncivil

        @Scorchio!!

        You are aware that they changed the U.K. law such that if the Swedish warrant was issued today the U.K. would not honour it.

        The reason being that it was not issued by a Swedish court merely the prosecutor. It is no longer recognised as a legal warrant in the U.K.

    2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

      @AC not really...

      He pulled a Roman Polanski.

      If the El Reg statement from the prosecutor is correct, they can reopen the case, however, while that possibility exists... they probably won't.

      However, he still faces the Brits for jumping bail.

      That is another thing and they will most likely toss him on a plane back to Australia.

    3. Oh Homer
      Headmaster

      I wish they'd stop calling it "rape".

      Only in Sweden could a condom ripping during voluntary sex qualify as "rape".

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: I wish they'd stop calling it "rape".

        Not even in Sweden. What makes it rape is that he continued to have penetrative intercourse after it had ripped, despite his partner making it clear that she only consented to sex if he used a condom. All he had to do was pause and use a new one, but as we've seen over the past few years anything which doesn't turn out as he wants is always someone else's fault.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I wish they'd stop calling it "rape".

          Not even in Sweden. What makes it rape is that he continued to have penetrative intercourse after it had ripped, despite his partner making it clear that she only consented to sex if he used a condom.

          As far as I'm aware, even that would not immediately ping "rape", if Assange had consented to the STD tests as asked by the girls that too would have stopped it escalating. Assange's refusal to do so can be interpreted in many ways, one theory is that he already knew what the result would be.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I wish they'd stop calling it "rape".

        Which also didn't happen, allegedly

        1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: I wish they'd stop calling it "rape".

          Yet another AC who doesn't bother to learn the facts.

          The allegations were spelled out in the EAW and the subsequent appeals.

          The evidence was presented in a UK court. So there is no ability to say that there is no claim.

          If you re-read the first appeals challenge you'll learn that Assange's lawyers attempted to apply an affirmative defense. No one disputed that the sex occurred.

          So the act did happen. Does it meet the standard of rape? That's up to a court to decide. However on the surface if true then it does.

          Assange fled jurisdiction. Remember that had he stayed, the worst thing would be 4 years in jail and then booted out with the probability he would be booted from ever visiting Sweden again. This would have been a footnote in history.

          As to Assange's fear from the US... Publishing the details... isn't enough to get him extradited and charged. Assisting Manning in the theft? Then he's going to face charges under the Espionage Act and he will not face anything worse than Manning. Note that Manning's self mutilation would not be an option for Assange, although there would be two women in Sweden who would probably argue it to be a just fate. (The separation of Julian from his little friend who doesn't like to wear a raincoat. )

      3. Archtech Silver badge

        Re: I wish they'd stop calling it "rape".

        So now we know that seven Register readers believe that "a condom ripping during voluntary sex" does qualify as rape.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Seems he has a good legal team, including in the UK, and will be going after those who libelled him.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
        Boffin

        @AC, too funny.

        Look, before you start to make legal claims like libel, I suggest you actually learn something of the law and the legal definition of libel.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @AC, too funny.

          Or defamation, take your pick. You can sneer all you like, but that is what will happen.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Seems he has a good legal team, including in the UK, and will be going after those who libelled him.

        He can start with me then: Assange was accused of rape AND HAS NOT BEEN CLEARED OF THIS CHARGE. Let's be clear here, Sweden is NOT stating there's no case to answer as Assange and co have been alleging, they're stating they are not going to waste any more state resources following it up.

        Now, just ONE question: if there was no case to answer, why not collaborate* and clear the air?

        Yes, I thought so.

        * No, really collaborate, not making up new rules to suit yourself and frustrate the very process capable of publicly and transparently clearing your name. If there is one case which would have never been able to do something under the table, it would be the Assange rape case, so the fact that he hasn't gone in with all cameras on it suggests to me that there are indeed facts in this case that don't look so good for Assange, hence the big song and dance and bleating about lawyers.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Anonymous Coward?

      OP - Anonymous Coward? More like Anonymous Bastard?

  1. Alister Silver badge

    I do hope that the Metropolitan Police Service are not going to let Assange slip through their fingers, if they reduce the resources they allocate to watching him.

    The gurning twat is still a criminal.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      The gurning twat is still a criminal.

      Correct - for jumping bail. He has not committed any other offenses on the statute book. However, even that has passed the statute of limitations as per the Bail act of 1976; Where bail is granted by the police and the defendant fails to surrender, the police may charge him as long as the charge is laid within six months of him failing to surrender, or three months of him surrendering to custody, being arrested or being brought before the court for the offence for which he is bailed, whichever is sooner - ss. 6(11) - (14) of the Bail Act 1976.

      This is from CPS guidance on bail: http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/a_to_c/bail/#a32

      6 months failing to surrender have passed and he cannot be arrested for the offense for which he is bailed as that prosecution is dropped. So they are entitled to resource him at EXACTLY ZERO resource as per current law. The law says he should just walk out of the embassy and the police are not entitled to bother him as the original charge has been dropped. So (un)fortunately (un or without un depends on viewpoint), we can no longer even nail him for jumping bail.

      As far as his other crimes, pissing into Hillary's cornflakes is not a criminal offense.

      1. Alister Silver badge

        @ Voland's right hand

        You misunderstood the passage you quoted:

        Where bail is granted by the police and the defendant fails to surrender, the police may charge him as long as the charge is laid within six months of him failing to surrender, or three months of him surrendering to custody, being arrested or being brought before the court for the offence for which he is bailed, whichever is sooner - ss. 6(11) - (14) of the Bail Act 1976.

        He was charged with it almost immediately, so there is no statute of limitations.

        Also, whilst quoting, you conveniently forgot this bit:

        Where a defendant has been bailed by the court and fails to surrender, the court may try him for that offence at any point after he has been brought before the court for that offence, irrespective of the length of time since he failed to surrender - s. 6(10) of the Bail Act 1976.

      2. DavCrav Silver badge

        "6 months failing to surrender have passed and he cannot be arrested for the offense for which he is bailed as that prosecution is dropped. So they are entitled to resource him at EXACTLY ZERO resource as per current law. The law says he should just walk out of the embassy and the police are not entitled to bother him as the original charge has been dropped. So (un)fortunately (un or without un depends on viewpoint), we can no longer even nail him for jumping bail."

        I'm not sure that's true. A warrant has already been served for his arrest under the Bail Act, hence his guarantors losing all their money. There is no statute of limitations for the Bail Act.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        There's still a warrant out there from Westminster Magistrates' Court, a Court order attached to his bail, and he chose to breach that.

        1. macjules Silver badge

          Right now I strongly suspect that there is indeed an extradition request lodged with the Home Office and just waiting for Assange to depart Ecuadorian territory in a blaze of publicity for it to be date stamped and enforced.

          A 2 to 5 year wait in HMP Pentonville for due process with (I would presume) absolutely zero chance of bail is possibly what awaits Mr Assange right now.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        he gurning twat is still a criminal

        SURELY, skipping bail is more than sufficient ground to give him a one-way ticket to the land of the free! Hell, who cares about "ground", just cuff him, we'll throw something to the press dogs later, who cares anyway?! And this, my children, is the rule of law and democracy of the country you're going to grow in :/

        1. Alister Silver badge

          Re: he gurning twat is still a criminal

          @AC

          I'm not in favour of him being given a one-way ticket to the land of the free!.

          However, he has never offered to pay back those loyal supporters who mistakenly stood bail for him, and he's never paid the money he promised to Chelsea Manning, and he seems to think he is above the law.

          I am therefore quite in favour of him having to face the consequences of his actions in jumping bail.

          1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

            Re: he gurning twat is still a criminal

            Have the supporters complained ?

            How do you know what arrangements he's made with them ?

            I think it's reasonable to assume they were happy for him to jump bail with the loss of their money unless you have evidence otherwise.

      5. This post has been deleted by its author

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        That's Police Bail - it's a different thing to the bail people cough up money for.

    2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Slightly complicated...

      Yes, he committed an offence of jumping bail.

      BUT the charge for which he was on bail has been dropped, so in hindsight there was no reason for him to be on bail in the first place. So is it reasonable, fair and just (as opposed to legal) to continue to pursue him for something he wouldn't have done in the first place if things had moved faster, i.e. the Swedes had decided at the beginning that there didn't seem to be enough evidence?

      Yes, he's a <insert insulting term here> but it does seem a tad unfair.

      1. Mike Richards

        Re: Slightly complicated...

        You are bailed on charges, not on whether you actually committed the offence.

        Assange jumped bail, he is alleged to broken the law and faces up to a year in prison followed by either extradition to the US if they want him, or forcible removal from the UK as his presence is not in the public interest.

        1. mhenriday
          Boffin

          Re: Slightly complicated...

          «You are bailed on charges, not on whether you actually committed the offence.» Perhaps, Mike Rogers, you might want to take into account the fact that Mr Assange was <u>never</u> charged by Sweden. He was wanted for questioning by Ms Ny - who, as a prosecutor in Göteborg, should never had been assigned the case, which belonged to Stockholm, where it had already been dismissed by another chief prosecutor. This case is merely yet another example - as if one were needed - of our subservience here in Sweden to the interests of those running the United States....

          Henri

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Slightly complicated...

            Nice try, but he has never been *charged* with anything, did you miss that part? And the girls are not interested in doing so.

            1. DavCrav Silver badge

              Re: Slightly complicated...

              "Nice try, but he has never been *charged* with anything, did you miss that part? And the girls are not interested in doing so."

              Again, again, again, Swedish legal system not the same as UK/US one. The 'charging' part happens right at the end, when you are taken to trial. Jesus Christ people, these facts are not particularly difficult to remember.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Slightly complicated...

                Is it too difficult for you to understand that the girls refused to press charges?

                1. Archtech Silver badge

                  Re: Slightly complicated...

                  "Is it too difficult for you to understand that the girls refused to press charges?"

                  I think it's too difficult for him to accept that the alleged (or, actually, not alleged) offences were not committed against him, and that not only does he know nothing about it, it is none of his business.

          2. Stork Silver badge

            Re: Slightly complicated...

            @henri - to my best knowledge he can not be charged in absentia - this is why Sweden has tried for so long to get him there.

        2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

          @Mike Richards ..Re: Slightly complicated...

          Sorry, no, he would not go to the US.

          In fact the US would not issue any sort of warrant or extradition request of Assange while he's in the UK.

          That would allow Assange to do another appeal to block the extradition and this time they would probably remand him to jail during the appeal. Because the potential crime would be under the espionage act and there is the possibility of the death penalty, he would have grounds to fight the extradition even though he wouldn't really face the death penalty.

          If the US wanted him... they would wait until he leaves the UK and is back on dry land in Australia.

          1. Zolko

            @Ian Michael Gumby

            "In fact the US would not issue any sort of warrant or extradition request of Assange while he's in the UK."

            very true, they'd probably just grab him on the streets and take him to the US in an anonymous Citation jet taking off during night. Actually, probably not the US, but Saudi Arabia or some other dictatorship with secret prisons.

            You seem imply that Assange would get a fair legal case, but all evidence points to the contrary. You did read the newspapers about Guantanamo, extraordinary rendition, secret Citation flights, black prisons run from US bases in some random countries, the plane of the Ecuadorian president downed over Austria because they thought that Snowden was in there, didn't you ? So, very clearly, Assange can fear much more than the UK justice.

          2. Archtech Silver badge

            Re: @Mike Richards ..Slightly complicated...

            "In fact the US would not issue any sort of warrant or extradition request of Assange while he's in the UK".

            Thanks for that firm assurance, er, Mr President.

            Oh wait a moment - even if Ian were the President of the USA, we still couldn't believe a word he said.

      2. Brangdon Bronze badge

        Re: Pen-y-gors

        The Swedes haven't dropped the case because of lack of evidence. They've dropped it because they can't proceed without physical access to him, which they are unlikely to get. It's not their fault they have no access, it's his, because he jumped bail and fled to the embassy. It seems fair to me to prosecute him for his own actions.

        They've also said they may reopen the case if he becomes available. That may happen if he leaves the embassy, is arrested for bail-jumping, and the Swedes issue a new arrest warrant while he's in jail. (I doubt he'll get bail a second time, given he's a proven flight risk.) It seems to me he has to stay in the embassy at least until the statute of limitations expires on the final accusation. If he truly does not fear the rape case but does fear extradition, I don't see when he'll ever be able to leave. The UK will never guarantee not to extradite him to the USA.

        If he does leave the embassy after the rape case is dropped, it will confirm that he was in fact avoiding justice for that and the extradition thing was just a pretext.

        It's also worth noting that he said he'd hand himself to America if Chelsea Manning was shown clemency, and that has now happened (as her sentence was reduced and she's out of jail). So he's got no excuse to hide on that score.

        1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

          Re: Pen-y-gors

          They've dropped it because they can't proceed without physical access to him, which they are unlikely to get.

          Though he had been interviewed in the presence of a Swedish prosecutor at the Ecuadorian embassy on 14th November 2016 -

          http://www.voanews.com/a/sweden-gets-written-report-from-assange-interview-in-london/3664245.html

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Pen-y-gors

          Assange and his legal team offered to travel to Sweden for questioning if it could guarantee he would not be extradited to the US, where he's under investigation for his work with WikiLeaks. He also repeatedly offered to be questioned in London.

          Swedish prosecutors refused to do so until November 2016, when Chief Prosecutor Ingrid Isgren interviewed the WikiLeaks founder in the embassy

          1. Richard 12 Silver badge

            @AC - No country can EVER give that guarantee.

            The law does not permit it.

            The most any prosecutor could say is that they haven't yet received such a request.

            He was demanding that Swedish prosecutors break their own law, international law and their treaties with the US.

            That gets a flat "No".

            Sweden are legally obliged to properly consider all extradition warrants on their individual merits. They cannot give a private individual arbitrary immunity from everything they might or might not have done in another country's jurisdiction.

            And frankly, his actions have made it far more likely that he end up rendered somewhere.

            If he'd gone to Sweden in the first place then he would be a free man by now, and would have been able to continue his work unhindered.

            Instead he is a wanted fugitive. Jumping Court bail has no limitation. He will be pursued for that forever, and will receive and serve the maximum sentence.

            At that point, if the US wants him, they will get him.

            Under Obama the US did not give a damn about Assange. Under Trump however...

      3. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Slightly complicated...

        "BUT the charge for which he was on bail has been dropped, so in hindsight there was no reason for him to be on bail in the first place. So is it reasonable, fair and just (as opposed to legal) to continue to pursue him for something he wouldn't have done in the first place if things had moved faster, i.e. the Swedes had decided at the beginning that there didn't seem to be enough evidence?"

        Well, of course. Instead of having his day in court he chose to jump bail. And the Swedes, and I think I am going to have to shout at this point, (sorry everybody) DID NOT DROP THE CASE THROUGH LACK OF EVIDENCE. They dropped it because it was clear Assange wasn't leaving the embassy, and since they can't get him, Swedish law says they have to drop it. So he hasn't been vindicated, he's just been enough of a criminal (i.e., a fugitive from the law) that the other side has given up.

        UK law doesn't have this requirement, so he's going to be couchsurfing for a while longer if he doesn't want to end up in new digs with the letters 'HMP' at the start.

      4. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

        @Bad Pen-y Re: Slightly complicated...

        Sorry no, its not complicated.

        Regardless of the dismissal of the EAW, it doesn't change the fact that he lost his appeal (3 times) and then jumped bail.

        Withdrawing the EAW doesn't negate his crime in the UK of jumping bail.

        He's still on the hook and if caught will face the UK courts and then get tossed off the island back to his homeland a yet larger island called Australia.

        He can then be barred entry back in to the UK as well as barred from Sweden after 2020 or arrested in Sweden if he tried to enter and gained access prior to 2020.

        I would suggest you stop trying to play lawyer. You're not very good at it.

      5. PickledAardvark

        Re: Slightly complicated...

        Assange is walking stalking taking the piss out of everyone. When asked where he lives, in a UK court, he gave an OZ PO Box number; second answer was nonsense.

        Law can't touch Assange; law doesn't need need to touch Assange..

      6. Stork Silver badge

        Re: Slightly complicated...

        The Swedes have _not_decided there is not enough evidence. They have decided this has been going nowhere for a while and that this is not likely to change, and they are then according to their law forces to shelve it.

  2. Ole Juul

    big savings

    The MPS will provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offence.

    Without further comment one could imagine that the "proportionate" resourcing wouldn't amount to even one officer. They'd probably still have to keep the resources quite high for political reasons though.

    1. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: big savings

      It's a embassy. The Met will have someone there anyway. This way they get to charge for that person against two budgets and spend the spare cash elsewhere.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: big savings

      "Without further comment one could imagine that the "proportionate" resourcing wouldn't amount to even one officer."

      Likewise, I'm not sure what they mean by "proportionate", or even what level they are reducing from, but I remember there were news stories about 18 months ago saying the 24/7 presence was to be stopped and replaced with a "proportionate response"

      Also, not every embassy gets a 24/7 police officer standing outside the front door.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MPS Comments...

    "The MPS will provide a level of resourcing which is proportionate to that offence. The MPS will not comment further on the operational plan."

    There are about 20 officers currently commenting "FFS - there goes our cushy number, we'll have to do some real work now"

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