Our new legal expert Birkett shares his thoughts on the decision to cease policing Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy
The Ecuadorian Embassy in London is no longer to be guarded by the Metropolitan Police as part of their quest to arrest Julian Assange. The decision by the Met to end the guard of the Ecuadorian Embassy demonstrates the colossal waste of resources (to the tune of £12.5 million) that have been spent on Mr Assange. Although some of the allegations against Mr Assange have been dropped by Sweden, he is still wanted under a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) for the serious accusation of rape.
The whole Assange affair demonstrates the dangers of the EAW. There is no ability to challenge the strength of the evidence underpinning the warrant in a British court, which has allowed Mr Assange to claim he is the victim of a conspiracy. The consequence has been an extremely costly police operation to satisfy our European neighbours. It is well known that many European countries are using the warrant to seek the return of offenders; many do not go quietly with the result that the precious resources of the UK justice system are spent attempting to enforce the will of other European states.
Of course, Mr Assange should face his accusers in Sweden. It is not a former Soviet bloc country with a developing legal system. Mr Assange’s behaviour is opportunistic in the extreme. However, his case does highlight the serious flaws with the EAW and the additional burden it has placed on the United Kingdom. We all need to demand that Theresa May undertakes a proper review of the EAW or we will all be paying for it.
Birkett is our new legal expert.He tells it as it is (legally speaking).
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