(CN) – A week after upholding Julian Assange’s arrest warrant in London, the judge denied Tuesday that it is in the public interest to let the WikiLeaks founder go free.
In a 10-page judgment published after a hearing at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot tore into Assange, saying “he appears to consider himself above the normal rules of law and wants justice only if it goes in his favor.”
Arbuthnot sniped at Assange repeatedly in the ruling for not showing up himself at court to raise his arguments.
“The impression I have, and this may well be dispelled if and when Mr. Assange finally appears in court, is that he is a man who wants to impose his terms on the course of justice,” she wrote.
If Assange leaves the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he has been living in asylum for nearly six years, he faces immediate arrest by London police.
The WikiLeaks founder said Arbuthnot's ruling came as a surprise. "The judge went outside what the parties presented in court," he said in a statement. "This seems to have led to the significant factual errors in the judgment."
Though Sweden revoked a European arrest warrant for Assange last year, the Westminster court issued the warrant at issue in 2012 when Assange ignored a notice to surrender for extradition.
Swedish authorities wanted the Aussie computer programmer to come in for questioning after two women accused him of sexual molestation and rape, but Assange argued that his arrest would quickly land him in the custody of the United States — which he says likely has a secret indictment against hi for his publication of classified materials via WikiLeaks
Expanding on one of the points of her ruling last week, Chief Magistrate Arbuthnot focused Tuesday on how Assange’s conduct undermines the administration of justice.
One consequence of Assange’s failure to appear, she wrote, “is the drain on resources that policing Mr Assange’s choice has caused.”
“I have regard too to the losses incurred by his sureties,” Arbuthnot added. “I must look at the impact on public confidence in the criminal justice system if Mr Assange is allowed to avoid a warrant for his arrest by staying out of reach of the police for years in conditions which are nothing like a prison. The failure to surrender was deliberate and occurred after the defendant had been able to challenge the original order all the way to the Supreme Court.”
Mark Summers, an attorney from Matrix Chambers who is representing Assange on instructions from the boutique firm Birnberg Pierce & Partners, failed to sway Arbuthnot with the findings of a United Nations working group that called Assange’s detention arbitrary.
Mercilessly unraveling that 2016 report, Arbuthnot began by saying the working group has apparently misunderstood what occurred after Assange’s arrest.
While the group made much of Assange’s 550 days in house arrest before he took to the embassy, Arbuthnot noted that Assange himself proposed this term.