WikiLeaker-in-chief Julian Assange has asked a British court to withdraw an arrest warrant against him, hoping that this would finally allow him to stop his unending Ecuadorean couch-surf.
His defence counsel, extradition law specialist Mark Summers QC, told Westminster Magistrates' Court today that the British bail arrest warrant "had lost its purpose and its function".
Summers' argument references the fact that the original European Arrest Warrant issued by Swedish authorities against Assange, for questioning regarding two allegations of sexual assault made in 2010, was removed in May 2017.
The lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service then said in court that since Assange had "failed to surrender to custody in answer to bail, [therefore] the warrant still stood," adding that "rewarding" the defendant with “effective immunity” for having dodged proceedings was not appropriate.
Back in December 2010, Swedish prosecutors issued a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) hoping to question the Australian WikiLeaks boss about allegations of sexual assault, which he denied. Assange, then in London, appealed the decision and was granted bail after his lawyers secured about £200,000 from a number of celebrity chums.
The White-Haired One skipped bail in 2012 and sought refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy, in London's swish suburb of Knightsbridge, missing a court hearing which he believed could have ultimately led to Sweden then granting his extradition to the US.
Despite having at least one ostensible admirer in the administration, Assange fears extradition to the US in relation to the publication of classified American docs by WikiLeaks. After staying quiet for more than a month, in August of 2012 the embassy announced it would give Assange asylum.
In May last year, Swedish prosecutors dropped their investigation and withdrew the EAW.
Jules has been trying to find a way out off the couch for some time, having been given Ecuadorean citizenship in December as part of an effort to make him a diplomat, which the UK authorities refused to agree to. ®