UK Judges Take Their Robes And Go Home After Julian Assange Added As Speaker At Legal Conference

from the wigging-out dept

In case you were wondering about the current state of Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder is still holed up at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, evading an extradition request to Sweden and living the life of a fugitive. Of course, it's not like he can't communicate with the outside world and, given some of the impressive leaks Wikileaks has released these past years, it's not uncommon for news organizations, academics, and others to seek interviews and input from him. One group recently interested in Assange's take on surveillance and its implications was a conference in Glasgow. Assange gave a speech via video-conference from the embassy and the audience, which included many officers of many courts, including judges, listened.

But several UK judges, including several supposed to also speak at the conference, missed seeing Assange speak after deciding to walk away from the whole conference due to Assange's inclusion.

Judges from Scotland, England and Wales and the UK supreme court had agreed to speak at or chair other sessions but withdrew – in some cases after arriving at the conference centre– when they found out about Assange’s appearance.Among those to boycott the conference were the most senior judge in Scotland, Lord Gill, and two judges on the supreme court, Lord Neuberger and Lord Hodge. Representatives of the judges said it would have been inappropriate for them to have attended, because of Assange’s legal status.

A spokesperson for the Judicial Office for Scotland said: “The conference programme was changed to include Mr Assange’s participation at short notice and without consultation. Mr Assange is, as a matter of law, currently a fugitive from justice, and it would therefore not be appropriate for judges to be addressed by him. Under these circumstances, the lord president, Lord Gill, and the other Scottish judicial officeholders in attendance have withdrawn from the conference.”
I suppose I shouldn't, but I find it hard to imagine how people could attain some of the highest judicial positions in a country while being so thoroughly thin-skinned. It should be noted that Assange was not to be speaking on anything to do with why he's currently evading extradition, which is ostensibly about a sexual assault charge, or whatever authorities are drumming up for him these days. On the matter of surveillance and technology security, it's difficult to think of someone more qualified than Assange. The judges deciding to take a walk because of his fugitive status, failing to take part in a discussion about the laws around surveillance, only serves to do two things: make sure their point of view isn't heard and aggrandize Assange even more than he's already been.

So buck up, UK judges. Your takes on these issues are important. You may not like Assange. Hell, I don't like him either. But throwing a fit just because he was asked to speak at a conference isn't befitting your legal-y splendor.

Filed Under: judges, judiciary, julian assange, thin skin, uk


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  • identicon
    Michael, 21 Apr 2015 @ 4:43am

    Mr Assange is, as a matter of law, currently a fugitive from justice, and it would therefore not be appropriate for judges to be addressed by him

    Heaven forbid we have people accused of a crime speaking in front of judges in the UK. That would just be crazy...

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  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 4:52am

    "Representatives of the judges said it would have been inappropriate for them to have attended, because of Assange’s legal status."

    Attended Assange's particular session, I can understand. I don't agree, but I'm also not a lawyer so I don't know the implication of them listening to Assange on any ongoing legal battle so I could let a boycott of his talk slide.

    But, boycotting the entire event - in some cases after you've already entered the building - does seem very strange. As a political statement, it's weak, and if simply having been at the same event as a controversial speaker - one who wasn't even able to attend physically - is enough to affect you professionally, then the profession does have some major problems.

    I did attempt a little search to see if there's any similar speakers who the judges have not been so scared by in the past, but the conference's web presence is horrifically bad and Googling past speakers doesn't seem to bring many names up.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2015 @ 8:16am

      Re:

      There is no precedent, but they are now creating one.

      Judges have kept the company of some of the most notorious bastards in history. They only do themselves and their profession a disservice by acting like pseudo-prudish-tards.

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  • icon
    Bamboo Harvester (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 4:54am

    Thin skinned

    "I suppose I shouldn't, but I find it hard to imagine how people could attain some of the highest judicial positions in a country while being so thoroughly thin-skinned."

    I suspect it's because of something along the lines of an "even the appearance of impropriety" clause in whatever the equivalent of the US Bar is in Scotland or the UK.

    A judge should never be in any kind of conversation with a person under fugitive status. Once an arrest is made, the only conversations a judge should have with the detainee is *in* court. Any conversations outside of the courtroom (excepting Chambers) opens a tremendous can of legal worms that can be exploited by one side or the other.

    IMO, they made the right move. But they did it too publicly - they should have simply not shown up and made no comment concerning it.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2015 @ 5:03am

      Re: Thin skinned

      Unfortunately it had to be public as the program was changed AFTER some of them had arrived for the conference to include Mr. Assange, so they couldn’t withdraw quietly.

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      • icon
        Bamboo Harvester (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 6:56am

        Re: Re: Thin skinned

        Of course they could have withdrawn quietly. But judges are political creatures, hence the public statement about it.

        There was no need for ANY statement, they *could* have simply left and not commented.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2015 @ 5:34am

    IMHO they made the right decision.

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  • icon
    Spaceman Spiff (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 5:48am

    Anyone...

    Anyone who wears a curly horsehair wig to work has no right to object to whomever is speaking at a conference, at least in my opinion.

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  • identicon
    Jason, 21 Apr 2015 @ 5:53am

    How many times have we read articles on Techdirt denouncing the heckler's veto when someone doesn't like the content or presenter at an event and gets it cancelled? Usually at some point in the piece is a bit about how if you don't want to listen you don't have to go listen.

    So now that someone has done exactly that, they're "throwing a fit" and should just buck up and play along?

    It seems to me that we should be, even if not applauding, then at least politely understanding to the judges for doing nothing more than decline to participate if they were no longer happy with the situation.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 6:27am

      Re:

      Well, there's 2 points here. First is that this could be the same thing that you note is usually criticised. It's just that since some of the judges didn't know Assange speaking until arriving at the event, they didn't have time to try and get it shut down or Assange removed from the itinerary. The most they could do was remove themselves from the event.

      Secondly, why the entire event? Refusing to enter during Assange's speech and making it known they were unhappy would have been sufficient. Literally turning tail and going home in order to boycott the entire thing, though, when the man wasn't even physically there? That needs further explanation, and the one given is rather inadequate. If there's a real legal issue, then most would be satisfied with a real explanation, but otherwise this does deserve criticism.

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      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 7:03am

        Re: Re:

        Literally turning tail and going home in order to boycott the entire thing, though, when the man wasn't even physically there? That needs further explanation, and the one given is rather inadequate.

        "I'm supposed to uphold the law, and having a legal conference be addressed by a man who is a rapist and a fugitive from justice makes a mockery of the law" is an inadequate explanation?

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 7:40am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "a man who is a rapist"

          I'd hope that wasn't their explanation, since Assange hasn't been found guilty of any such thing in a court of law, and there are blindingly obvious mitigating circumstances that suggested he was unlikely to get a free trial and/or be sent to the US to another kangaroo court.

          Maybe he is guilty of those allegations, but until he gets a fair trial in the jurisdiction in which his arrest was issued, he's following the legal framework that allows Ecuador to grant him asylum, and the other laws that allow him to appeal his warrant and speak freely.

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          • icon
            Mason Wheeler (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 7:55am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Wow. Do you think OJ was innocent too?

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            • icon
              tqk (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 9:34am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Do you really understand the innocent until proven guilty concept, or do you just play at it?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                John Fenderson (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 10:26am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                People are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Outside of a court of law, we can make our own determinations of guilt or innocence all we want.

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                • icon
                  tqk (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 11:33am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Certainly, you may. And that determination and a couple of bucks will buy you a bus ticket. It's worth as much as hearsay evidence.

                  I wonder if this has anything to do with nobody being able to trust your justice system these days. The cops and prosecutors are corrupt, don't know the law, mishandle evidence or make it up, juries are hand picked by lawyers based on their pliability, public defenders are lucky if they can even keep up, etc. OJ's civil trial did one hell of a lot better job than the criminal trial did. The cops in the Rodney King trial got off the first time.

                  Guilt vs. innocence? Perfect tabloid gossip mag fare, the court of public opinion rules. The cops do this too. They *know* that guy did it, so they find a way to hang it on him. Other potential suspects are just noise in the system. Eventually, it may all work out, but by then an innocent man's spent years of his life in prison, if he isn't executed or shivved first. Rinse, lather, repeat.

                  You should all be very angry about this. Yet people wonder why Assange and Dotcom and Swartz are afraid to face their accusers.

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                  • icon
                    John Fenderson (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 1:17pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    I am very angry about all of this.

                    With the OJ trial, I actually think the outcome of the court case was correct, because of the misbehavior of the cops. I also think that he committed the murders.

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                  • icon
                    Mason Wheeler (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 1:39pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    The cops in the Rodney King trial got off the first time.

                    That's because they didn't do anything wrong, and until they were put on trial a second time, (for political purposes, in blatant violation of 5th amendment guarantees of protection against such things,) that was all that mattered.

                    Everyone remembers the Rodney King video. What most people don't remember, because it wasn't in the video, is what happened before that. The video didn't show the way he led police on a high-speed chase, putting the lives of everyone around them in danger, while drunk. The video doesn't show the way he acted like he was under the influence of worse stuff than alcohol once the police finally pulled him over. The video doesn't show the way he managed to fight off four police officers attempting to restrain him.

                    No, all the video shows is what eventually happened when the police finally got serious about subduing a person who had already shown himself to be violent, intoxicated, and lacking any restraint or concern for the well-being of those around him. It's like walking in on Act II of a play--you don't know who the characters are or how they got here; all you see is the dramatic action without the context. And when the events were properly examined in context, the jury did not find sufficient evidence to convict the police officers.

                    Not that that mattered to the people who had seen the video. The video had taken on a life of its own by this point. Today, we'd say it had "gone viral," and it reached a point where the video was more important than the truth. And so when the truth came out and it didn't match the deceptive narrative told by the video, rioting broke out.

                    After over 2400 deaths and injuries, $1 billion in property damage, and one military intervention to pacify the area, things finally got settled down. In light of all this, is it any wonder the institutional memory of police nationwide looks upon being filmed with worry? How would you like to be the guy whose actions touched off a billion-dollar riot because a YouTuber with an agenda posted an unflattering video of you doing your job and trying to help protect those around you?

                    Just saying.

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                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2015 @ 2:13pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      A criminal's behavior is no excuse for a cops bad anything.

                      I have not seen the Rodney King beating so I will not comment on that. But there is more than enough evidence that makes it clear Officers abuse their power.

                      They should worry and rightfully so. Take Ferguson for example... I actually tend to agree that the officer should not have been charged, the evidence and information that I saw sides with the Offices account.

                      I do however think that he should have been Indicted because members of the law should not be treated any differently than a citizen. Like officers like to tell the people that bring in that if they are innocent then the court will bear that out. We all know it is bullshit but turn about is bit of fair play.

                      At the end of the day, since officers have a long and well documented past of abuse, it is not unreasonable to think that things like NY, Ferguson, and Rodney King will set people off and into a riot. I am not saying that its right, just saying that will be the result because when people have had enough, they tend to over react when a flash point event sets everyone off!

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                    • icon
                      PaulT (profile), 22 Apr 2015 @ 12:01am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      "And so when the truth came out and it didn't match the deceptive narrative told by the video, rioting broke out."

                      You're pretty damn ignorant if you think that was the only thing that triggered the riots - even if you think that the beating was justified by the man's prior actions (many would still disagree).

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                      • icon
                        Mason Wheeler (profile), 22 Apr 2015 @ 6:52am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        A trigger, by definition, is only one thing, a small thing, that causes a disproportionately large and dramatic effect when activated. True, there are other things involved--the gun has to be loaded with properly-prepared bullets, for example--but it's not at all incorrect to say that this was what triggered the riots.

                        Ask yourself this question: if that video never existed, would the riots have still happened when the officers were found not guilty? (Assuming they even went to trial over it in the first place, that is?) Obviously not. There might have been a race riot in LA at some later point, triggered by some other event, or there might not, but the historical event we're familiar with would not have happened.

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                        • icon
                          PaulT (profile), 22 Apr 2015 @ 7:55am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          Indeed, so you agree that the while the video was a trigger, people didn't simply riot over the video as you implied? Good.

                          Now, if we can just get you to work on your concept of why it's bad to refer to someone as a rapist when they've never faced a trial for such a crime, which was the subject before you derailed the thread. Trial by media doesn't count. Such accusations have destroyed lives and careers of many an innocent man, and I dislike those who use them lightly. Dislike Assange all you want, whether for his personality, his actions with Wikileaks or his legal asylum status. But, let's stick to the proven facts, OK?

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                        • icon
                          tqk (profile), 22 Apr 2015 @ 10:52am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          ... if that video never existed, would the riots have still happened when the officers were found not guilty?

                          I was likely not watching all that closely at the time (too busy working), but my hazy understanding of it was the trigger was a not guilty verdict given to all white cops by an affluent all white jury (the trial was moved to that jurisdiction "to be fair"). That touched off a powder keg created over years of Chief Gates' "tough on crime", "take no prisoners", egregiously racist police dept.'s actions.

                          However, all I know of it came from mass media six o'clock news reportage, for whatever it's worth.

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                    • icon
                      GEMont (profile), 24 Apr 2015 @ 12:30am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      "What most people don't remember, because it wasn't in the video, is what happened before that. The video didn't show the way he led police on a high-speed chase, putting the lives of everyone around them in danger, while drunk. The video doesn't show the way he acted like he was under the influence of worse stuff than alcohol once the police finally pulled him over. The video doesn't show the way he managed to fight off four police officers attempting to restrain him."

                      Please explain how you know all of the above to be absolutely true, if there is no video evidence of any of it.

                      Were you there?

                      Are you one of those cops?

                      Or, are you simply saying that in your mind - because the police claim these things to be true - then they are undeniably and absolutely true - no evidence needed?

                      ---

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2015 @ 9:36am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              It doesn't matter what ANYONE thinks. The law says he's innocent until he's been found guilty.

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              • icon
                orbitalinsertion (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 2:28pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                The only way it doesn't matter is inside the legal system. Or rather, it does matter: He can't be imprisoned as guilty since he has not been to trial and found guilty. It does, however, matter in all other respects everywhere else what anyone thinks. It also matters what people think when the system delivers wrong guilty or not guilty verdicts, or for the wrong purported crime, or punishments too weak or too heavy-handed. I have no idea how anyone can claim otherwise, but the claim does certainly show up an awful lot when sexual harassment and assaults are the accusation.

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              • icon
                JBDragon (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 2:34pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                He can't be found guilty when he does everything he can to not be thrown in Jail and brought to trial!!!

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2015 @ 9:57am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Legally, he is. There is a difference between reality and the law. The law here is about protecting people, not about making sure that people who are guilty are punished.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 11:55pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              So, we should just take any allegations as fact? Guilty until you're proven innocent? You think because one guilty guy might have got away with a crime (he didn't, if you include the civil case), that anyone accused of a crime is instantly a rapist or worse until they prove otherwise?

              I'm glad I don't live in your world, and I really hope that senior justices of Scotland and the UK don't agree in guilt before innocence like you do.

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          • icon
            JBDragon (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 2:33pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            If this guy was Innocent, he would have no reason to hide from the law like this for YEARS and YEARS!!! No Guilty people do that. In my eye's he's clearly guilty.

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  • identicon
    JayMitsuru, 21 Apr 2015 @ 6:14am

    Warning: completely useless comments

    It seems like being adressed by a fugitive is considered "downright un-judgely"..

    or even that they JUDGED his contributions to be of negative value, to the point that it was worth a trip back home.

    I actually pictured a row of guys in long black robes crossing thier arms over thier chests with disapproving frowns and doing an "about face" before filing solemnly out of the conference. In my version the silence is only broken by the chubby wheezy guy in the front row going, "Heh, Klingons."

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  • icon
    John William Nelson (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 6:16am

    Conflicts can create issues

    In reading the articles, some of the judge's reasons I think are not well articulated.

    However, I think it is fair and reasonable for a judge to not attend if they feel there may be a conflict in the future, especially if they may hear a matter involving that individual.

    As for judges never talking to fugitives, I think some people view the legal system in too much of a romantic, absolutist manner.

    Judges can absolutely speak with fugitives, or criminals, and often do. There are limits on where and when, and some acts may preclude you from hearing cases on the matters, but judges are people as well. And the court system is not as magical or absolutist as many people think (either here in the USA or in the UK).

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    • icon
      Bamboo Harvester (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 7:00am

      Re: Conflicts can create issues

      Read for content. I said SHOULD not converse with fugitives.

      You're stating "fugitives, or criminals". If they're in the courtroom, they're no longer fugitives (unless they burst in and hold the judge hostage all on their own). Your conflation of the two is no different than mixing up "suspect" and "defendant".

      No court, lawyer, or judges has ever been "magical" or "absolute", anywhere.

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      • icon
        John William Nelson (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 9:10am

        Re: Re: Conflicts can create issues


        You're stating "fugitives, or criminals". If they're in the courtroom, they're no longer fugitives (unless they burst in and hold the judge hostage all on their own). Your conflation of the two is no different than mixing up "suspect" and "defendant".


        I see you've never held or witnessed a hearing where an alleged fugitive is appearing via video conference or phone conference to contest the warrant. I am not conflating the two.

        Further, there are other situations where a judge may have a need to converse with a fugitive.

        But I can also see you appear to think I am personally attacking you, so I do not doubt you will find issue with this comment either.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2015 @ 8:14am

      Re: Conflicts can create issues

      So wait... that disqualifies any judge anywhere?

      What is so magical about a conference that should disqualify them versus reading the the same damn material during an actual case?

      You logic is fucked up, this is the stupid that makes humanity destroy itself. Conflict of interest is squarely predicated upon the person not receiving a fair trial because the Judge has a reason outside of the case to be overly for or against the defendant.

      If you think attending a conference where some might be addressed by a person of dubious nature rises to such an occasion, then it is clear you are just as stupid as the judges.

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      • icon
        John William Nelson (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 9:18am

        Re: Re: Conflicts can create issues

        I did not say attending a conference will disqualify a judge anywhere.

        To the extent that my "logic is fucked up," it is because you seem to not understand judicial conflicts of interest.

        So, let me explain judicial conflicts of interest.

        Let us take the conference example: A judge from the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom attends a conference. One of the speakers at the conference is Julian Assange, who may have an issue pending before the lower courts (or, in this case, a great likelihood that he will have an issue before the lower court).

        The judge is then in a quandary. Depending on the nature of the conference, the nature of the appearance by Assange, and the nature of the speech given by Assange, the judge faces multiple ethical issues regarding the future matter. (And these issues would be in place for any lower court judges as well.)

        For example:

        1. Was Assange paid for the appearance, or did he otherwise obtain some other form of compensation?

        2. Would the contents and nature of the speech lead to arguments by prosecution that an effective ex parte communication occurred, resulting in the need for recusal?

        3. What are the other practical issues facing the judge as far as impartiality are concerned? (While recusal may not be required as a matter of law and regulation, could the judge's participation raise questions in the eyes of the public?)

        But, by all means throw ad hominem attacks at me. In the end they only reflect your own nature.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2015 @ 12:38pm

          Re: Re: Re: Conflicts can create issues

          Sir/Ma'am, I did not mean to offend, I did mean to emphasis just how wrong you are. Yes it is fucked up and here is why.

          The judges did not even arrange it, regardless of whether or not they speak or just listen is immaterial to what conflict of interest is.

          I just cannot emphasis enough how crazy you sound to someone that understands the human mind well enough. According to you, we should be keeping judges locked up because they might witness something that could alter their views, or appear as an impropriety, whether it be a public venue such as this conference in question or maybe just a simple movie.

          Just because someone or something of dubious nature is in attendance should not rise to the occasion of impropriety. Yes their private lives impact their public persona, however, we should not have judges walking away from everything just because someone has been "accused" and is doing their best to avoid being rail-roaded.

          The entire reason we need to judges to be in attendance so that they may experience the reality of theses things. They benefit society less if we keep them away from venues where someone can misconstrue some cockamamie idea of impropriety.

          You are a part of the generation that seeks out "controversy" so much that everything becomes a controversy. Give it a rest, we need to be able to trust that Judges are mentally functional enough to keep their sanity when being spoken do by anyone regardless of their legal real or implied status! Problems do not get solved when people avoid talking about them... do you know what happens when the conversations stop? That's right... action, because whether you like it or not, you cannot silence people, be they wrong or right, you should listen because at least you may have the understanding of where they are coming from and how to better address it the next time forces meet! And if they do not meet in the court room, then they meet on the battlefield.

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          • icon
            John William Nelson (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 12:42pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Conflicts can create issues

            Did you actually read my original comment?

            I certainly don't believe judges should walk away from various aspects of life because they are judges. In fact, I state that judges can and should routinely engage in discourse with folks.

            However, the Assange situation is a bit different because some of these judges may have to hear and decide on legal issues facing Mr. Assange. So it is not unreasonable if that was the worry.

            However, it is not clear whether that was the worry—especially based on some of the childish comments by some of the judges.

            But hey, keep misconstruing my posts, failing to actually read them through, and making ad hominem attacks on me laced with profanity. This is the Internet, and that kind of thing is what we do on the Internet.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2015 @ 1:03pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Conflicts can create issues

              However, the Assange situation is a bit different because some of these judges may have to hear and decide on legal issues facing Mr. Assange. So it is not unreasonable if that was the worry.

              Let's make it clear. This is not, and should never be remotely construed to be impropriety of any nature.

              The childish comments by the judges only shows their ignorance and lack of understanding of their own laws! They are just grandstanding and using this as an excuse to say "look at us and how we are so dedicate to being judges that you need to laud us with admiration and praise."

              Yes I did read your original comment, what makes me crazy is how you have made something that should be considered very unreasonable to "sound reasonable". The devil is always in the details and yes, I may have misunderstood what you meant, but I do not believe so. Perhaps another poster could enlighten me or perhaps you could explain better.

              Saying "I cannot emphasize how wrong I think you are" vs "Your logic is fuck and you are acting just like those idiot judges" are the same to me. If it is just the fowl language that offends then I do offer apologies for that, no offense in that way was intended. That said I do agree with you that sweeter sounding verbiage sounds better.

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              • icon
                John William Nelson (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 3:48pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Conflicts can create issues

                what makes me crazy is how you have made something that should be considered very unreasonable to "sound reasonable".


                Damnit, that's the lawyer in my coming out. Always trying to make unreasonable things sound reasonable.

                Oh, and I'm not offended. Seriously. I've been on these internets since, oh, like 1992 or so? I mean, not as long as some, but long enough to be able to weather these quite moderate flame attacks. I mean, most Usenet groups makes what you said look G-Rated.

                No worries dude.

                Look, bottom line is that there are very real reasons why judges may not be able to go to a speech done by someone who they may need to make a decision on in the future.

                Does that mean those reasons are present here? From what I read, perhaps, but perhaps not. And others have pointed out that (1) the judges reacted rather childishly in how they presented the issue and (2) they may not have had to boycott the whole thing and (3) at the very least, judicial decorum (at least in the US, the UK is a bit different) would typically dictate not making a big ruckus out of it anyhow.

                In short, you keep saying my "logic is fucked up" and calling stupid, but I think you and I are on the same wavelength here.

                It's probably my lawyerly manner of over-writing and over-speaking things, making short things long and all, that is getting in the way.

                Carry on mate!

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DocGerbil100 (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 6:18am

    What's good for the goose...

    If this were reversed - say, the MPAA speaking at an event before and alongside judges who might soon have to rule on important copyright matters - I would interpret this as low-to-moderate-grade evidence of institutional bias. If I regard it as wrong on that side, I must regard it as wrong on this one. The judges did the right thing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2015 @ 8:20am

      Re: What's good for the goose...

      The stupid it burns.

      So which is it?

      You want to be rules over by judges that are kept ignorant and stupid of these subjects?

      Or do you want the judges to keep abreast of the trouble of the world?

      Do blind leaders lead you into the ditch or properly down the road?

      The idea that they should not participate out of juvenile ignorant fear is insanity!

      The stupid it burns!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2015 @ 10:49am

        Re: Re: What's good for the goose...

        The role of the judiciary is supposed to be a blind interpreter of what's legal and not without regard to other external fators. Judges do not have to keep abreast of the trouble of the world; that's not their job.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2015 @ 12:44pm

          Re: Re: Re: What's good for the goose...

          Fail... just fail...

          The ignorance is vast with you.

          The entire debate around copyright and patent reveals how wrong you are.

          Judges are never blind and they are never unbiased, and are never immune to external factors. They do have some authority to offer mercy and direct a proceeding in a way that should be applicable to the trial they are presiding over. We very much NEED/REQUIRE them to keep abreast of the trouble of the world, and should be their job.

          There is nothing worse than an ostrich with their head in the dirt making important decisions.

          Please go away, look in the mirror and say to yourself... this is the face of destructive ignorance!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2015 @ 9:59am

      Re: What's good for the goose...

      There are differences between the MPAA and Assange. Now, if Assange was speaking as wikileaks, you'd have an argument, however as I understand he spoke as himself here.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2015 @ 7:11am

    Swedens stance on sexual assaults is really confusing. Sometimes they are willing to cause international protests based on something as ridiclious as a ripped condom, other times they ignore cases of mass child rapes and murders...
    or was that the UK?
    I wouldnt want to be a politician in either of those places.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2015 @ 7:43am

    Good. Hopefully the three "lords" will fuck off back to the middle ages where they belong.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Arbed, 21 Apr 2015 @ 8:33am

    Lord Gill, the Flouncing Fool

    Craig Murray, ex-UK ambassador to Uzbekistan and whistleblower on torture there, has written quite the put-down for M'Luds:

    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2015/04/lord-gill-the-flouncing-fool/

    Apparently, Lord Gill and his merry band neglected to look at the conference's programme, which had included details of Assange's participation a full week before the start of the CLC 2015 event. They also obviously don't like reading the newspapers over their porridge and toast as Scotland's national press had carried news of Assange's Skype-assisted gatecrashing the day before the event. To add to their Worships' embarrassment, it seems the boycott was AFTER Assange's talk and not, as their statement implies, before...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    AAAA, 21 Apr 2015 @ 9:25am

    matter of law

    When is a matter of law what they mean is they don't have a choice in the matter.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    AAAA, 21 Apr 2015 @ 9:25am

    matter of law

    When they say it is a matter of law what they mean is they don't have a choice in the matter.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    tqk (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 9:46am

    Perfidious Albion.

    This is Britain we're talking about here. We used to shake our heads with sadness when we thought about India's caste system. Britain's has always been far worse. 99.9% of the population have always been considered untouchables. Their own "nobles" had to fight the king (Magna Carta) for consideration of their rights.

    I'm pretty sure "pompous ass" is part of the judges' job descriptions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Emmy B, 21 Apr 2015 @ 11:11am

    a sexual assault charge

    Julian Assange has not been charged of any crime in any country. The UK Supreme Court did decide to extradite him to Sweden based on a European Arrest Warrant to question him. British Parliament has now changed the law and no one will be extradited to no country unless charges have been put forward and the case is decided to go to trial. These judges who run away with the robes flying about know this.

    I guess the real reason they left was the content of his speech that exposes GCHQ knowingly violating Lawyer/client privileged communications for which the UK's Legal Lords have remained very quiet about. It was not long ago that the British Justices were hanging as terrorists people who sought sovereignty away from the British Empire. They may not have also liked Assange's comments that supporters of Scottish Independence were most probably also under GCHQ surveillance. Or listening about how WikiLeaks saved Snowden under the nose of the NSA and GCHQ whilst they have him under 24/7 surveillance.

    You can hear Julian Assange at the conference: https://soundcloud.com/rttv/more-snowdens-assange

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Peter CM (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 11:25am

    They've either preserved their ability to sit in judgment on Assange or debarred themselves from ever doing so.

    Any judge who might conceivably be called to sit in judgment on Assange on currently known facts had cause to avoid the session featuring Assange. Any such judges who boycotted the *entire conference* because of Assange's participation is open to accusations of personal bias that might debar them from *ever* sitting in judgment on Assange. And any judges who are *not* likely to ever sit in judgment on Assange on currently known facts and who boycotted the entire conference are government toadies who, I hope, didn't let the door hit their asses on the way out.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2015 @ 11:38am

    i wonder who it was that told these judges not to stay and listen and speak? surely they didn't just decide that as there was a person speaking on a subject that he knew so much about and they know so little (while pretending that they do!) it was a matter of prudence to leave? it's more like another case of what seems to have become a UK illness during the last 5 years, one of if there is going to be some statements of fact, backed up by proof and evidence, those people passing judgments using their own take on matters or that of some high ranking official, need to back off and then ignore. there can be nothing more infuriating to a judge to be shown up because his/her knowledge is nowhere as good as he/she thinks!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Casey, 21 Apr 2015 @ 11:40am

    Umm. what?

    I like the post, up to the point that TG wrote this..

    "On the matter of surveillance and technology security, it's difficult to think of someone more qualified than Assange."

    Please, its not difficult at all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Peter (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 12:02pm

    Great first step!

    If they are so concerned about upholding the law, they could now complete their withdrawal from the public life, lay down their jobs and start a new life breeding rabbits or tending gardens.

    After all, their decision to extradite Mr Assange to Sweden was a disgrace for judical profession as such:
    a) it was based a law that was written to fight state-threatening terrorists, not people who publish inconvenient truth (and expose government crimes which said judges don't appear to lose sleep over)
    b) extradition was granted despite the Swedish Governments refusal to rule out an extradiction to the US (putting into question the entire motive of 'we need Mr Assange in Sweden to defend swedish citizen's rights)
    c) extradition was granted despite the refusal of the swedish authorities to simply interview Mr Assange in London (which turned out to be perfectly feasible when some judges worth their titles asked the right questions)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    toyotabedzrock (profile), 21 Apr 2015 @ 6:54pm

    And why does not this author no like Mr Assange?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    GEMont (profile), 22 Apr 2015 @ 1:58pm

    Entropy - The Law of Corruption

    Looks to me like they just provided an excellent list of people that the UK public should do its level best to eliminate from the court system, ASAP.

    Wanna bet a quick peek into the past of these judges would reveal that they did NOT willingly withdraw from other far more serious situations, during their careers, and that this was nothing more than them sending the US a simple message - "We're still on your side USA" - but which looks a lot more like "We're still on your payroll, USA."

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 22 Apr 2015 @ 2:17pm

      Re: Entropy - The Law of Corruption

      Well said. I strongly agree. However, this is Britain, where the hoity-toity upper-classes can do no wrong. Stiff upper lip, pip pip, and how did that person get in here?

      It still amazes me that the US loves Brit royalty, and Brits love US imperialism. That says a lot.

      No, I'm not a Frenchie, btw.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Call A Spade, 23 Apr 2015 @ 12:18am

    Assange has not had a day in court and I agree with his tactics he would be crucified he did what any democratic society should do as part of their mandate for open government without corruption.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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