Blackstone’s Rose QC fails in bid to have Assange appeal reopened

The UK Supreme Court has rejected a bid by Blackstone Chambers silk Dinah Rose QC to re-open the extradition hearing of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

Last month Matrix Chambers’ Clare Montgomery QC, instructed by the Swedish Prosecution Authority, was successful in her bid to have Assange extradited to Sweden to face sex offence allegations.

But after allowing 14 days for Assange’s legal team to apply to re-open the appeal, the Supreme Court has rejected the application by Rose.

The reapplication was allowed because Rose claimed that in their judgment in the Supreme Court case the seven-strong bench considered a point that was not argued before it (30 May 2012).

The original decision stated that the Swedish Prosecution Authority was a judicial authority and that Assange’s arrest warrant had consequently been legally issued.

However, Rose said the ruling had been based on the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, yet the provisions of that convention had not been raised during the hearing and that she had not had a chance to address them.

Julian Assange
Julian Assange

In last month’s Supreme Court substantive judgment, president Lord Phillips found that the UK signed up to a European framework that would create “a single system for achieving the surrender of those accused or convicted of serious criminal offences and this required a uniform interpretation of the phrase ’judicial authority’”.

He continued: “There was a strong domestic presumption in favour of interpreting a statute in a way which did not place the United Kingdom in breach of its international obligations.”

The appeal was heard in February. Rose was successful with one point as the Supreme Court’s written judgment stated that Assange “stands charged” with offences when he is in fact only wanted for questioning. This was clarified today by the court.

Legal line-up

For the appellant Assange: Blackstone Chambers’ Dinah Rose QC leading Matrix Chambers’ Mark Summers and Helen Law, instructed by Birnberg Peirce & Partners partner Gareth Peirce.

For the respondent Swedish Prosecution Authority: Matrix Chambers’ Clare Montgomery QC leading Aaron Watkins, also of Matrix, and 5 St Andrew’s Hill’s Hannah Pye, instructed by Special Crime Division, Crown Prosecution Service.

For the interveners Gerard Batten MEP and Vladimir Bukovsky: Paul Diamond instructed by Chambers of Paul Diamond.

For the intervener Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland QC: P Jonathan Brodie QC of Arnot Manderson Advocates, instructed by the Appeals Unit, Crown Office.