12:44, April 11 40 0 theguardian.com

2019-04-11 12:44:04
Assange branded a 'narcissist' by judge who found him guilty

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been labelled a “narcissist” by a judge as he was found guilty of skipping bail after spending nearly seven years holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy.

Justice Michael Snow said Assange’s claim that he had not had a fair hearing was “laughable” as he appeared in the dock at Westminster magistrates court.

The attempt by Assange’s legal team to paint the activist as a victim of bias in his previous hearings was “unacceptable”, the district judge told the packed courtroom.

Justice Snow said: “His assertion that he has not had a fair hearing is laughable. And his behaviour is that of a narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interests.”

Assange shouted “this is unlawful” as police officers struggled to drag him from the Ecuadorian embassy on Thursday morning, the court heard. He had tried to “barge” past the officers back to his private room when they attempted to introduce themselves.

Assange, who had pleaded not guilty, now faces up to 12 months in prison in relation to the bail charge and will be later sentenced at Southwark crown court at an unspecified date.

Timeline

Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy



WikiLeaks releases about 470,000 classified military documents concerning American diplomacy and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It later releases a further tranche of more than 250,000 classified US diplomatic cables.

A Swedish prosecutor issues a European arrest warrant for Assange over sexual assault allegations involving two Swedish women. Assange denies the claims.

He turns himself in to police in London and is placed in custody. He is later released on bail and calls the Swedish allegations a smear campaign.

A British judge rules that Assange can be extradited to Sweden. Assange fears Sweden will hand him over to US authorities who could prosecute him.

He takes refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He requests, and is later granted, political asylum.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention says Assange has been 'arbitrarily detained' and should be able to claim compensation from Britain and Sweden. Britain and Sweden rebuff the non-binding ruling.

Assange is questioned in a two-day interview over the allegations at the Ecuadorian embassy by Swedish authorities.

WikiLeaks says Assange could travel to the United States to face investigation if his rights are 'guaranteed'. It comes after one of the site's main sources of leaked documents, Chelsea Manning, is given clemency.

Nigel Farage is spotted visiting the Ecuadorian embassy. 

Swedish prosecutors say they have closed their seven-year sex assault investigation into Assange. British police say they would still arrest him if he leaves the embassy as he breached the terms of his bail in 2012.

Britain refuses Ecuador's request to accord Assange diplomatic status, which would allow him to leave the embassy without being arrested.

He loses a bid to have his British arrest warrant cancelled on health grounds.

Ecuador cuts off Assange's internet access alleging he broke an agreement on interfering in other countries' affairs.

US prosecutors inadvertently disclose the existence of a sealed indictment against Assange.

Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno says Assange has 'repeatedly violated' the conditions of his asylum at the embassy.

Police arrest Assange at the embassy after his asylum was withdrawn. Scotland Yard confirmed that Assange was arrested on behalf of the US after receiving a request for his extradition. Assange has been charged by the US with 'a federal charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified U.S. government computer.'

Separately, Assange is due to appear in court via video link in May at Westminster magistrates court in relation to the United States’s extradition charge of conspiring with Chelsea Manning to break into a classified government computer and disclose sensitive documents in 2010.

Assange will not personally give evidence in the case but his legal team will argue that he had a “reasonable excuse” for not surrendering to custody.

The basis of Assange’s defence of “reasonable excuse” is that he could never expect a fair trial in the UK as its purpose was to “secure his delivery” to the US, the court heard.

Defending Assange, Liam Walker claimed that chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot, who previously dealt with the case, was biased against him. Her husband, Lord Arbuthnot, had been investigated by Wikileaks, Walker alleged.

But Justice Snow called it “unacceptable” for Walker to air the claim in front of a “packed press gallery”. He told the court: “This is grossly unfair and improper to do it just to ruin the reputation of a senior and able judge in front of the press.

“He [Assange] has chosen not to give evidence, he has chosen to make assertions about a senior judge not having the courage to place himself before the court for the purpose of cross-examination.

“Those assertions made through counsel are not evidence as a matter of law. I find they are not capable of amounting to a reasonable excuse.”

Police arrived at the Ecuadorian embassy in Knightsbridge at about 9.15am on Thursday morning and were met by the ambassador, the court heard.

“He indicated he was preparing to serve upon Mr Assange documentation revoking his asylum,” James Hines QC, representing the US government, told the court.

Hines added: “Officers tried to introduce themselves to him in order to execute the arrest warrant before he barged past them, attempting to return to his private room.

Timeline

Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy



WikiLeaks releases about 470,000 classified military documents concerning American diplomacy and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It later releases a further tranche of more than 250,000 classified US diplomatic cables.

A Swedish prosecutor issues a European arrest warrant for Assange over sexual assault allegations involving two Swedish women. Assange denies the claims.

He turns himself in to police in London and is placed in custody. He is later released on bail and calls the Swedish allegations a smear campaign.

A British judge rules that Assange can be extradited to Sweden. Assange fears Sweden will hand him over to US authorities who could prosecute him.

He takes refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He requests, and is later granted, political asylum.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention says Assange has been 'arbitrarily detained' and should be able to claim compensation from Britain and Sweden. Britain and Sweden rebuff the non-binding ruling.

Assange is questioned in a two-day interview over the allegations at the Ecuadorian embassy by Swedish authorities.

WikiLeaks says Assange could travel to the United States to face investigation if his rights are 'guaranteed'. It comes after one of the site's main sources of leaked documents, Chelsea Manning, is given clemency.

Nigel Farage is spotted visiting the Ecuadorian embassy. 

Swedish prosecutors say they have closed their seven-year sex assault investigation into Assange. British police say they would still arrest him if he leaves the embassy as he breached the terms of his bail in 2012.

Britain refuses Ecuador's request to accord Assange diplomatic status, which would allow him to leave the embassy without being arrested.

He loses a bid to have his British arrest warrant cancelled on health grounds.

Ecuador cuts off Assange's internet access alleging he broke an agreement on interfering in other countries' affairs.

US prosecutors inadvertently disclose the existence of a sealed indictment against Assange.

Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno says Assange has 'repeatedly violated' the conditions of his asylum at the embassy.

Police arrest Assange at the embassy after his asylum was withdrawn. Scotland Yard confirmed that Assange was arrested on behalf of the US after receiving a request for his extradition. Assange has been charged by the US with 'a federal charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified U.S. government computer.'

“He was eventually arrested at 10.15am. He resisted that arrest, claiming ‘this is unlawful’ and he had to be restrained.

“Officers were struggling to handcuff him. They received assistance from other officers outside and he was handcuffed saying, ‘this is unlawful, I’m not leaving’.

“He was in fact lifted into the police van outside the embassy and taken to West End Central police station.”

While Assange waited for his legal team to arrive in court for the afternoon hearing he sat in the dock reading Gore Vidal’s History of the National Security State. The bearded Wikileaks founder, whose grey hair was tied back, also waved and gave a thumbs up to a supporter in the public gallery clad in a yellow vest.

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