Ministry of Justice FOI on September Court Hearings Response

On the 30th October 2020, the Disclosure Team of the UK Ministry of Justice replied


Editors Notes:

Answers to 3 and 4 together suggest hat only one journalist as allows video access. As seating was limited by covid-19 social distancing restrictions, the answers below suggest covid-19 social distancing was then used as the excuse for limiting access the the video link

Refer to our articles A few Letters Regarding the Media Blackout of Assange Journalists and Julian Assange’s extradition hearing marred by barriers to open justice for more background on the struggle to arrange video access to the September Hearings

4/ The total number of journalists refused accreditation by District Judge Baraitser (or, if by another officeholder, please provide name and office) to follow the hearing (virtually or physically), as well as their names, names of their media organisations and all criteria for rejection

Q4) Journalists have not been refused accreditation, a Court Video Platform (CVP) link to view the hearing was provided if they were unable to obtain a seat the court.

3/ The names of all journalists (and their media organisations) allowed physically into the main courtroom and the selection criteria enabling their entry and attendance.

Q3) There was one accredited journalist allowed into the main courtroom. Under Section 40(2) of the FOIA we are not obliged to disclose the name of the journalist.

Editors Note:

The answer to Question 14 contradicts journalists reports. Reporters without Boarders report ‘It was not possible to clearly see Assange in the glass dock he was held in at the back of the courtroom, or assess his well being, whether he could adequately follow proceedings, or if he could communicate easily with his legal representation – all of which had been issues in the February proceedings.‘ refer article Julian Assange’s extradition hearing marred by barriers to open justice

14/ The number of courtrooms that have a glass cage to contain a defendant.

Q14 & 15) None of the courts within the Central Criminal Court have a glass cage, defendants are required to go sit in the dock unless otherwise instructed by the judiciary.