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Assange barrister slams Swedish authorities

Assange barrister slams Swedish authorities

A Melbourne barrister who introduced Julian Assange to Geoffrey Robertson QC has accused Swedish authorities of deliberately misleading the courts.James Catlin, who has acted for Assange…

A Melbourne barrister who introduced Julian Assange to Geoffrey Robertson QC has accused Swedish authorities of deliberately misleading the courts.

James Catlin, who has acted for Assange previously and drafted his first statement with regard to his alleged conduct in Sweden, introduced Assange to Geoffrey Robertson QC in October in anticipation of charges being laid against him.

Catlin told Lawyers Weekly that the actions of Swedish authorities in seeking to charge Assange for sexual offences cast substantial doubt on the integrity of its legal system.

"If the actions of [Swedish prosecutors] are based on law, then it has been a process devoid of the checks and balances and respect for the rights of any accused person that exist in Australian law," Catlin said.

In particular, Catlin has queried why Swedish authorities won't release information concerning when the two women at the centre of allegations against Assange are alleged to have communicated with each other in August.

Catlin believes that the denial of this evidence to the defence team for Assange has "effectively and deliberately misled the courts".

"This communication between the women throws an important perspective on what happened," he said. "This evidence points to possible motives to explain the actions of the women, and could show evidence of collaboration in order to gain media exposure, seek revenge or possibly earn money."

Catlin's comments come in the wake of Assange being granted bail by Judge Howard Riddle in the United Kingdom overnight, but remaining in custody due to the decision of Swedish prosecutors to appeal against this decision.

A hearing before a single judge of the British High Court is to be heard before the end of the week.

Assange's bail was in excess of $300,000, with a number of high-profile supporters such as British filmmaker Ken Loach, American filmmaker Michael Moore, socialite Jemima Khan and journalist John Pilger thought to have contributed to pay this sum.

Geoffrey Robertson QC, who flew to London from Sydney when Assange was arrested, provided legal representation for Assange at his bail hearing.

The ABC reported this morning that Robertson told the court that Assange would forfeit his passport, report to police every day and stay at a fixed address.

Judge Riddle had previously rejected bail on the grounds the Australian was a "flight risk".

Australian lawyer Jennifer Robinson, a member of Assange's UK legal team, hit out at the actions of Swedish authorities, telling the ABC that Assange "is a man who has done nothing wrong, the allegations are false, he hasn't even been formally charged and yet they're holding him without charge in solitary confinement".

Assange's supporters have also expressed concern that Swedish authorities would extradite him to the USA, but legal experts have said such a move would be impossible without British approval.

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Assange barrister slams Swedish authorities
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