Assange opponents score powerful points

Posted: February 11, 2011 in Journalism, media regulation, online media, Politics and international affairs
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Penned this article for SBS News after an interview with Joshua Rozenberg came in from Brian Thomson.

A British legal expert has told SBS that the cross-examination of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is likely to have been hugely effective.

Joshua Rozenberg, a lawyer and BBC journalist, said it always going to be an uphill struggle for Assange’s legal team to persuade the court that Assange should not to face trial in Sweden, because of the arrangement between European countries, where the legal systems are mutually trusted.

He says one of Assange’s strongest arguments – that he wouldn’t get a fair trial on sex assault charges as the press would be excluded – the norm in a Swedish rape case – also proved ineffective during the cross-examination.

The cross-examination found that noone had ever challenged this custom in Sweden, which is largely deemed fair, Rozenberg said.

An expert witness also added that Assange was unlikely to be reaxtradited to the US, as Assange’s legal team had claimed would happen to the WikiLeaks founder.

Clare Montgomery QC, the lawyer representing Swedish authorities, ‘scored a number of powerful points’, Rozenberg said.

‘She even got Mr Assange’s Swedish lawyer to undermine the evidence given by a defence witness and expert witness called yesterday on behalf of Mr Assange.’

Blocking extradition was now unlikely, Rozenberg says.

‘I don’t think he has got home on any points that will enable him to achieve that.’

Rozenberg says the judge in the case knows that whoever loses in this court following the end of the hearing on Friday will appeal to the High Court.

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