Julian Assange; is this the final chapter?
Now that the Swedish Authorities have revoked the European Arrest Warrant that had been issued for his arrest, it might have been assumed that Julian Assange would be leaving the Ecuadorian Embassy, where he has been living since 2012. It seems that he has no plans to do so, at least in the foreseeable future. His problem is that even though the EAW has been revoked, there is still a warrant outstanding for his arrest after he failed to appear at court. This is a separate offence, and is usually taken very seriously; he can be sent to prison for up to 6 months in the Magistrates Court. given the amount of resources that the Metropolitan police have spent on the case, he is almost certain to get a prison sentence if he is ever brought to court.
If he were given a prison sentence, then there seems to be no reason why the Swedish authorities could not re-issue a new EAW. They have made it clear that their decision to drop the EAW is not an indication that the investigation has ended; it is simply a practical decision. He would need to be produced at court and could expect to be refused bail as there are clearly sufficient grounds to believe that he might not attend if he were given bail. Alternatively, if the US authorities do want to take action against him as he fears they do, then they could start proceedings against him.
Whatever happens, it does not seem like Mr Assange will be leaving the embassy a free man at any time soon.
John Howey, Senior Solicitor