It surely cannot be the case that Assange can rely on his own refusal to go to Sweden to escape answering the allegations. However, this does seem to be the case.
It would seem that, in the circumstances, any charge will require an investigation to close; and, in turn, for an investigation to close requires there to be an interview with the suspect. David Allen Green, lawyer & legal blogger
“gall, brazen nerve, effrontery, incredible ‘guts’, presumption plus arrogance such as no other word and no other language can do justice to”.
Famously, Rosten defines the term chutzpah as
“that quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan”.
In Swedish legal procedure, to be charged with a crime you have to be interviewed by the police. Julian Assange has now permanently evaded being charged with sexual assault in Sweden by the following series of actions.
First, Assange left Sweden.
Julian Assange had applied for residency in Sweden on 18th August 2010. On 31st August 2010 he was questioned by the police and told of the accusations: the investigation was re-opened. Assange left Sweden on 27th September 2010, and went to the UK. He did not return. On 18th October 2010, the Swedish Migration Board denied Assange a residency permit: Assange was still in the UK.
On 18th November 2010, the Stockholm District Court approved a request to detain Julian Assange for “questioning on suspicion of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion”. Marianne Nye, the Swedish Director of Prosecution, told the court that Assange he has “not been available for questioning”.
Assange refuses to return to Sweden for questioning. In the course of that questioning, as there is no doubt Assange understood, he would have been charged for the crimes he is alleged to have committed.
On 20th November, the Swedish police issued an international arrest warrant for Julian Assange: on 30th November, Interpol issued a “red notice”, asking people to contact police if they have any information about Julian Assange’s whereabouts.
Julian Assange evidently decided that if Sweden want him, they’d have to extradite him legally from the UK. He gave himself up to London police on 8th December 2010 and was remanded in custody until 16th December (a hearing on 14th December granted bail, but prosecutors appealled: High Court judge Sir Duncan Ouseley set bail at £240,000, which friends and supporters of Assange pay in cash and sureties.
On 24th February 2011, District Court judge Howard Riddle rules that Julian Assange should be extradited to Sweden.
Assange refuses to go: his lawyers appeal.
On 2nd November 2011, two judges at the UK High Court uphold the decision to extradite Mr Assange to Sweden on the allegations of sexual assault and rape.
Assange refuses to go: his lawyers appeal. On 5th December 2011, Julian Assange is granted the right to petition the UK Supreme Court.
On 30th May 2012, the Supreme Court rules that Julian Assange should be extradited to Sweden to face questioning over the allegations of sexual assault and rape. During that questioning, Assange would be charged: again, the Swedish judicial process delays the charge until the person accused can be questioned.
Assange refuses to go: his lawyers appeal.
On 14th June 2012, the Supreme Court rules that Julian Assange’s final legal appeal against extradition, is “without merit”. Assange is still on bail: he must now either go to Sweden to face questioning for sexual assault and rape, during which questioning he will be charge, or he will cost his friends and supporters £240,000. Assange has now spent 20 months and made many legal appeals against having to go to Sweden and give his side of the story formally to the Swedish prosecutor, and be charged with the crimes he is alleged to have committed.
On 19th June 2012, Assange jumps bail and enters the Ecuadorean Embassy in Knightsbridge, where he voluntarily remains to this day. On 16th August 2012, Ecuador grants Assange asylum: he can now legally remain in the flat which is Ecuadorean soil, for as long as he wishes to imprison himself there rather than accept extradition to Sweden, questioning on charges of sexual assault and rape, and then being charged: should Sweden decide not to charge him, Assange would now still need to return to the UK to face charges of jumping bail.
Earlier this year, seeing the statute of limitations approach (five years for sexual assault, ten years for rape) the Swedish prosecutor decided that since Assange refused to leave the embassy, but had many times offered to be questioned in London by the Swedish authorities, they would get permission from the Ecuador embassy to enter, travel to London, and question Julian Assange in the embassy.
Assange refuses to be questioned: Ecuador says Sweden will have to promise Julian Assange asylum before they will let the prosecutor in. The prosecutor has no power to promise Julian Assange asylum in Sweden while Assange will not leave the Ecuadorean Embassy in London: Assange would have to ask for asylum in Sweden.
So matters remain to this day, 13th August 2015, five years on. Julian Assange has successfully evaded questioning, charges, and prosecution on three counts of sexual assault in Sweden: because of the statute of limitations, only the charge of rape remains for him to be questioned on.
On this day, Julian Assange issues a statement, in which he complains that he never got to give his side of the story to the Swedish prosecutor.
No kidding. If Assange had wanted to give his side of the story to the Swedish prosecutor, he could have stayed in Sweden and done so on 18th November 2010.
“A chutzpanik may be defined as the man who shouts ‘Help! Help!’ while beating you up.”
John Pilger, who is apparently sublimely ignorant of how a statute of limitations works, asserted:
“By dropping most of the allegations against Julian Assange, Sweden has finally admitted to the grotesque injustice its judicial and political elite have perpetrated against Assange for almost five years.”
The statute of limitations on the charge of rape will expire in August 2020.
In a few days time, unless something unexpected happens, Julian Assange will no longer be facing three of the four potential charges against him in respect of what happened in Sweden in August 2010.
There is no statute of limitations in the UK on the crime of absconding from court-appointed bail: Assange faces another five years of self-imposed imprisonment in the Ecuador embassy before he can completely avoid being questioned and charged in Sweden. After that, if he’s content to be arrested, charged, and tried for the crime of absconding on bail, he can leave the Ecuador embassy to spend time in a British jail.
All because Assange did not regard having non-consensual penetrative sex as rape or sexual assault, and so apparently decided that any attempt to charge him with these crimes must be a US government conspiracy.