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Palin not charged due to a lack of AFP resources

Palin not charged due to a lack of AFP resources

Sarah Palin was not charged for inflammatory comments about Julian Assange due to a lack of Australian Federal Police (AFP) resources, according to his lawyer. Speaking to Lawyers Weekly, Robert…

Sarah Palin was not charged for inflammatory comments about Julian Assange due to a lack of Australian Federal Police (AFP) resources, according to his lawyer.

Speaking to Lawyers Weekly, Robert Stary, who is Assange's Australian lawyer, said he made representations to the AFP seeking to have Sarah Palin and 2008 Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee charged for what he deemed to be comments that acted as "an incitement to violence" against Assange.

In December last year, Palin urged Assange to "be pursued with the same urgency that we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders", while Huckabee said those involved in the leaking of US Government material had "blood on their hands" for the lives they had endangered.

"We said at the time that if Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee want to engage in that sort of rhetoric, then the Australian Government should charge them, and we made a formal complaint to the AFP," Stary said. "Due to the scarcity of resources in the organisation and the limits of funding and priorities, they said they would not pursue the complaint."

Stary added that the Commonwealth Criminal Code makes it an offence for calls to commit violence against Australian citizens, which might include the psychological and mental harm that any comments might cause, and that applies to non-nationals making threats against Australians.

"The complaints were made as an attempt to quell the incitement to violence that those two [Palin and Huckabee] and others had engaged in," he said.

Stary spoke to Lawyers Weekly after addressing the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) Victorian Conference last week (13 May). He said he is providing logistical support to Assange's UK-based legal team ahead of his British High Court appeal on 12 July against his extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault allegations.

He described the "Swedish thing" as a "regrettable distraction from the important work that Julian Assange and Wkileaks does" and, while he dismisses any conspiracy theories in relation to any US Government involvement in the allegations against Assange, he said Assange and his legal team were still concerned about the possibility that he could eventually be extradited to the USA.

Stary, who acted for Jack Thomas, the first Australian to be accused under anti-terror laws, said that unlike other political and terror-related matters he has acted on, there seemed to be a much wider consensus of views about Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

"All the responses we have received have been favourable from the general and legal community."

At the ALA Victorian Conference, a civil justice award was presented to a member of Rolah McCabe's family, in recognition her fight for justice against British American Tobacco.

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