Julian Assange appeared today by video link before Westminster Magistrates’ Court where he was informed that he would be remanded in custody for the duration of extradition proceedings against him.
Mr Assange is currently serving a 50-week sentence of imprisonment at Belmarsh prison for an offence of failing to surrender to custody, contrary to section 6 of the Bail Act 1976. The custodial term of that sentence is due to expire on the 22 September 2019, when Mr Assange’s status will change from a serving prisoner to a person facing extradition.
In extradition proceedings involving an accused person, there is a presumption in favour of bail. Counsel for Mr Assange, however, declined to make an application on his behalf, likely as a result of his history of absconding. District Judge, Vanessa Baraitser, remanding Mr Assange in custody, said that there were substantial grounds for believing that if released, Mr Assange would abscond again.
There will be further administrative and case management hearings on 11 October and 21 October respectively, with the extradition hearing scheduled for February 2020.