Julian Assange: English law would prosecute a sleep rapist
JULIAN Assange stood on the balcony at Ecuador’s embassy in Knightsbridge, London, and told that United States what they “must do” for WikiLeaks. It’s a great website. But it’s not Julian Assange. What he did not address was what he should do. Officers in Sweden would like Assange to respond to the rape allegation against him. The law in England, where he was living under the terms of his now jumped bail, are clear. It’s not just inSweden where his alleged crimes would be of interest.
Felicity Gerry writes:
A successful prosecution for “sleep rape” requires the jury to be sure that the woman was in fact asleep not that she was conscious but simply does not clearly recollect what happened. It is on such issues that a defence barrister is entitled to cross question. The complainant will have to tell the jury what happened after she went to bed and deal with how obvious it would have been to the defendant that she was asleep.
The site Justice 4 Julia attests:
From the information provided in the original complaint and the EAW this would not constitute an offence under English law.
It’s reminiscent of Roman Polanski, the rapist defended by his supporters. It was Whoopi Goldberg who told one and all that his rape of a 13-year-old girl “wasn’t rape-rape. It was something else but I don’t believe it was rape-rape.” Let’s stick to the facts:
Offence 4 levelled against Assange (via Jack of Kent):
On 17 August 2010, in the home of the injured party [SW] in Enkoping, Assange deliberately consummated sexual intercourse with her by improperly exploiting that she, due to sleep was in a helpless state.
It is an aggravating circumstance that Assange who was aware that it was the expressed wish of the injured party and a prerequisite of sexual intercourse that a condom be used, still consummated unprotected sexual intercourse with her. The sexual act was designed to violate the injured party’s sexual integrity.
The English Magistrates’ Court ruled:
The position with offence 4 is different. This is an allegation of rape. The framework list is ticked for rape. The defence accepts that normally the ticking of a framework list offence box on an EAW would require very little analysis by the court. However they then developed a sophisticated argument that the conduct alleged here would not amount to rape in most European countries. However, what is alleged here is that Mr Assange “deliberately consummated sexual intercourse with her by improperly exploiting that she, due to sleep, was in a helpless state”. In this country that would amount to rape.
I have not thought it necessary or desirable to consider extraneous material. I have looked only at the language used in the warrant. The parties have taken me to some further information in the bundle. This appears to consist of an interview with the complainants. I am not sure if this information provides the full extent of the allegation. Even if it does, however, it is unnecessary to consider this material in this context. Section 64(2) applies.
As I am satisfied that the specified offences are extradition offences I must go on to consider whether any of the bars to extradition specified in section 11 are applicable. No bars are raised and none is found.
The High Court ruled:
It is clear that the allegation is that he had sexual intercourse with her when she was not in a position to consent and so he could not have had any reasonable belief that she did.
Assange’s lawyer Ben Emmerson, told the court:
“Nothing I say should be taken as denigrating the complainant, the genuineness of their feelings of regret, to trivialise their experience or to challenge whether they felt Assange’s conduct was disrespectful, discourteous, disturbing or even pushing at the boundaries of what they felt comfortable with.”
The accusation adds that she tried “several times to reach for a condom which Assange had stopped her from doing by holding her arms and bending her legs open and try to penetrate her with his penis without using a condom”.
Julian Assange has not been charged. He’s not been arrested. He can’t be. He’s refusing to go to Sweden. Still, soem see that a sign of a US-led conspiracy and Assange’s innocence. George Galloway retweeted this:
He hasn’t even been charged. He’s not accused of rape. What’s alleged isn’t even a minor misdemeanour in the Uk.
Claes Borgström, who represents the two unnamed women says:
“They are disappointed, but they are getting used to this by now…They know that all they can do is wait. I have told them I am not sure, but I think he will still be extradited … it is a tragedy for the women. I don’t know how long it will take for him to be extradited now. Victims want to put these things behind them in order to be able to get on with their lives. The tragedy is that he doesn’t take his responsibility. He should have come to Sweden.”
The last word is with Brita Sundberg-Weitman, a former head judge at a district court in Solna, Stockholm:
“I can understand that Assange is afraid of being sent from Sweden to the US, but I am not sure it will turn out well for him. I don’t know what his situation would be if he really landed in Ecuador and whether he would be safe. If you think of the policy of the Obama administration to kill whoever the president considers a terrorist wherever they are in the world.”
He must go to Sweden… (What would Mother Teresa do?)