Whether or not Julian Assange deserves to be prosecuted by the Americans over Wikileaks, or Sweden over rape allegations, there’s no doubt that he’s bang to rights here. Which is why it’s entirely well deserved that he gets 50 weeks prison for having breached his bail conditions. The thing being that he did indeed breach his bail conditions and no, we don’t allow for exceptions to that. Further, no, it’s not a trivial matter for the majesty of the courts never is a trivial matter:
Julian Assange has been sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for breaching bail and spending seven years holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. The Wikileaks founder took refuge in the building in 2012 to avoid extradition from the UK to Sweden where he faced allegations of sexual assault. Sentencing Judge Deborah Taylor said he had cost the British taxpayer £16 million while he hid away.
It’s not the cost to the taxpayer that matters, nor whatever he was trying to avoid by skipping:
In the summer of 2015, when Julian Assange had already spent three years inside the embassy, I decided it was important to access the full documentation on his case to try to reconstruct it using factual information. It was at that point that I filed my comprehensive FOIA request on the Julian Assange and WikiLeaks case in four jurisdictions. I ran up against a real rubber wall, one so persistent that have been forced to sue the Swedish and British authorities. The documents I have managed to obtain after a lengthy FOIA litigation, which is still ongoing, provide indisputable evidence of the UK’s role in helping to create the legal and diplomatic quagmire which has kept Julian Assange arbitrarily detained since 2010, as established by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD.)
Sorry honey, all of that’s irrelevant.
Assange agreed in a British court that if he was not banged up on remand then he would turn up for trial. He didn’t turn up for trial. So, he skipped his bail. And that’s why he is being punished.
For the same reason that perjury gains a stiff sentence – as Chris Huhne, his wife and Jonathan Aitken found out. For the same reason that contempt of court does. Because the system of justice only works if all agree to be bound by it.
Further, if people skip bail then bail is less likely to be granted to others in future. If no one turned up for trial then there would never be any bail at all. People merely accused would spend months to years in prison awaiting the trial that would find them innocent and thus free them.
Jailing people who skip bail is important which is why he’s going to serve time for having done so.
“Whilst you may have had fears as to what may happen to you, nonetheless you had a choice, and the course of action you chose was to commit this offence,” she concluded.
Don’t want the time then don’t do the crime, eh?
What’s truly amusing about all of this is of course that if Assange had surrendered himself for extradition – and even if Sweden had prosecuted the rape allegations, then the US had the spying ones – then he’d have served his sentences and be out by now. Even if he’d had to serve both sentences consecutively.