Investigation Reveals Further Conflicts of Interest for Chief Magistrate Overseeing Assange’s Case

On 23/11/2019 Mohamed Elmaazi writes an article

Editors Note: This is being included for completeness of records here. There is a feeling there is a lot room for movement in this story even though it starts as early as 2018

The extent of undisclosed conflicts of interest involving the Chief Judge overseeing the case of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange were revealed in a detailed analysis by British historian Mark Curtis and investigative journalist Matt Kennard, published on 14 November 2019.

In 2018, former British diplomat and whistleblower Craig Murray revealed that the husband of Senior District Judge Lady Emma Arbuthnot, the Chief Magistrate of England and Wales, ran a security firm with the former head of the Secret Intelligence Services (SIS, aka MI6). Judge Arbuthnot made rulings which directly, and negatively, impacted the case of WikiLeaks’ publisher Julian Assange; a case she continues to oversee as Chief Magistrate.

Mark Curtis and Matt Kennard’s new report, published on 14 November in the DAILY MAVERICK, significantly builds upon Murray’s article, revealing an expansive web of national security state connections, all of which Judge Arbuthort failed to disclose as potential conflicts of interest while she dealt with Assange’s case.

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Curtish and Kennard point out that while Judge Arbuthnot, “has recently appointed a district judge to rule on Assange’s extradition case”, as Chief Magistrate she, “remains the supervising legal figure in the process”.

Failing to Disclose a Conflict of Interest

As the report’s authors point out, there is no evidence to suggest that the Turkish state, or the UK or US intelligence or military organisations directly pressured Judge Arbuthnot. However, that is not the test as to whether certain relationships must be disclosed. A reading of the guidance already quoted reveals that conflicts of interest do not require evidence of a quid pro quo in order to be disclosed.

Interestingly, Curtis and Kennard also point out that in two separate cases in 2017 involving conflicts of interests Lady Arbuthnot only stepped down after conflicts of interest were revealed by the press. One of which involved a case where she had already made a favourable ruling on behalf of UBER, The Observer revealed business links between her husband and the taxi company.

The extent of Lord Arbuthnot’s connections to security state-linked organisations and institutions exposed by WikiLeaks is legion. It is unclear therefore why, despite these connections, along with the gifts that Judge Arbuthnot and her husband received from Becthel and the Turkish state, were never disclosed while the Judge was overseeing the case of Julian Assange. Especially given the clear conflicts between the activities of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange on the one hand, and the US, UK and Turkish national security states on the other.

Read full article in Sputnik News