find the latest legal job
Corporate/Commercial Lawyers (2-5 years PAE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Specialist commercial law firm · Long-term career progression
View details
Graduate Lawyer / Up to 1.5 yr PAE Lawyer
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Mentoring Opportunity in Regional QLD · Personal Injury Law
View details
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Lawyers behind Assange

Lawyers behind Assange

A host of well known Australian and international lawyers have thrown their support behind Julian Assange in the wake of his arrest overnight.The Australian founder of Wikileaks voluntarily…

A host of well known Australian and international lawyers have thrown their support behind Julian Assange in the wake of his arrest overnight.

The Australian founder of Wikileaks voluntarily surrendered to UK police last night after he was placed on an Interpol red alert by Swedish authorities who are seeking to extradite him to face charges of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion.

Despite high profile supporters such as the Australian filmmaker John Pilger and British socialite Jemima Khan, the former wife of Pakistani cricketer Imran Khan, offering to stump up bail for Assange, Judge Howard Riddle of the Westminster Magistrates Court in London rejected his application for bail.

Assange was remanded in custody on the grounds that he provided a high flight risk.

The news of Assange's arrest prompted the well known Australian born barrister and human rights advocate, Geoffrey Robertson QC, to cut short his holiday in Sydney and fly to London to represent him.

London lawyer Mark Stephens accompanied Assange during his London court appearance.

Prior to Assange's arrest, a host of Australian lawyers had expressed disquiet about both the Swedish allegations against him and comments by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Attorney-General Robert McClelland in relation to the publication of confidential diplomatic cables on Wikileaks.

Melbourne barrister James Catlin, who has previously represented Assange, told ABC radio last night that the Swedish allegations against Assange are "not even in the ballpark" of what would be considered to be definitions of rape in most jurisdictions.

"It's consensual sex and the two women involved SMS-ed their friends afterwards to talk favourably about what has occurred which in any normal first world country would give prosecutors grave cause for concern about the bona fides of the complaint," he said.

Yesterday (7 December) the head of Maurice Blackburn's Social Justice Practice group, Elizabeth O'Shea, and Melbourne writer and academic Jeff Sparrow co-authored a letter to Julia Gillard urging the Australian government to protect the legal and human rights of Assange.

The letter included 185 signatories, including American academic and author Noam Chomsky, philosopher and ethicist Peter Singer, and lawyers Julian Burnside QC, Brian Walters SC, Stephen Keim SC, Rob Stary and David Ritter.

"We are really worried by the threats of violence being made against Mr Assange," Elizabeth O'Shea told Lawyers Weekly.

The prominent US politician and former Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has commented that Assange should face the death penalty for leaking information about the US government.

O'Shea said the Australian government should provide Assange with the consular assistance expected of any Australian citizen and declared that the establishment of a taskforce by the Attorney-General in a bid to charge Assange was "premature". She also called for the Australia government to pull back from making allegations that Assange had engaged in criminal allegations and to refrain from cancelling Assange's passport.

Last week, Greg Barns, a director of the Australian Lawyers Alliance, told Lawyers Weekly that it would "be a stretch" to charge Assange for alleged breaches in terms of possible charges under anti-terrorism laws and the National Security Information Act.

"The fact that any government would be embarrassed by the publication of information doesn't make it an offence to publish it," he said.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Lawyers behind Assange
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Dec 14 2017
International arbitration and business culture
Promoted by Maxwell Chambers. This article discusses the impact of international arbitration on t...
Papua New Guinea flag
Dec 14 2017
World-first mining case launched in PNG
Citizens of Papua New Guinea have launched landmark legal proceedings against the country’s govern...
Dec 14 2017
Punishing offenders twice pointless, politicians warned
The president of the Law Society of NSW has warned legislators from other states about adopting cont...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...