Thursday, 24 February 2011

Julian Assange Extradition: Legal Aid: David Chaytor

Julian Assange has lost his extradition hearing at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court. 

Further discussion on U.K. Human Rights blog (Adam Wagner).

Legal Aid - the judges respond to the government's proposals:

The Judiciary has issued its response to the government's proposals to reform legal aid.  If implemented, the proposals would deny access to justice for much of the population.  The judges' views are worth reading since little in the proposals escapes criticism.  See Judiciary of England and Wales 24th February.

"Legal aid cuts will cost more in long run, say Judges" - Afua Hirsch in The Guardian 24th February.  This perhaps states the fairly obvious point that the government is in danger of being "penny-wise: pound foolish."  Furthermore, relatively cheap but timely advice can often save much more expensive litigation.  Against this background of planned cuts to legal aid the Law Society Gazette notes that Conservative MP Kris Hopkins asked Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly M.P. about progress in recouping outstanding financial penalties which remain uncollected by Her Majesty's Court Service.  No satisfactory answer was received.  The amount is a huge £1.3 billion.

Read about The Law Society's Campaign - "Sound off for Justice - Don't be silenced in court."

Jailed former M.P. to seek leave to appeal his sentence:

The former MP Mr David Chaytor is to seek leave to appeal against his sentence - BBC 24th February.  In January, Mr Chaytor was sentenced by Saunders J to 18 months imprisonment on 3 counts of False Accounting - see "18 months imprisonment for former M.P. David Chaytor" (7/1/11).  However, the application will not be heard until 22nd March.  Mr. Chaytor
pleaded guilty prior to trial having lost in the Supreme Court where it was argued that only Parliament had jurisdiction in these matters.  He is now serving his time in an "open prison" and he may become eligible for Home Detention and Curfew.  [The Daily Telegraph reported that the Police investigation into abuses of parliamentary expenses cost £840,000].

Addendum:  The Guardian 24th February - "Julian assange attacks "rubber-stamp" warrant as he loses extradition battle."   Head of Legal offers his analysis of the judgment at Belmarsh Magistrates' Court.  Assange's solicitor described the European Arrest Warrant as "tick box justice."  Whatever one thinks of either Mr Assange or his case, there are serious concerns about this system of extradition.  In September 2010 the Home Office announced a review of extradition.  The review team is being led by Sir Scott Baker who is assisted by David Perry QC and solicitor Anand Doobay.  A report is not expected until the late summer 2011.

Addendum - David Chaytor:  Mr Chaytor lost his appeal - see BBC 23rd March 2011.


  1. Experience would suggest that there is a waiting list for those prisoners seeking to go to open prison. The riot in Ford open prison on News Year's Day resulted in 300 spaces being lost. Perhaps, somebody within NOMS can explain to me how David Chaytor was able to jump from the bottom of the waiting list to the top in just 2 days? It would suggest that he received preferential treatment. Obviously, some snouts in the trough are more equal than others.

  2. Under PSO 0900 he will be Category D. It seems to be a straightforward application of the Prison Orders even if the allocation was decided quickly.

    Prison Service Orders

  3. I am not disputing that Chaytor should have been allocated to open prison, but places are so few and so many waiting to go to open prison that it raises questions why did he jump the waiting list?