The wind and the tempest,
the on-coming storm
In every case the choice of the senior council is paramount. Get this wrong and you go down, and for Assange that could be for a while. Get it right and they will be discussing your case long after you are dead.
And Assange has managed to book the best of the best. For a case like this you need a clear mind unfazed by the publicity and pressure, and in Geoffrey Robertson QC, Assange has his true champion. The man even flew home breaking his holiday to take this case on.
Geoffrey Robertson is probably not well known in America. He soon will be though, if this farce turns from Christmas pantomime knock-about, to box office show-trial.
A fellow Australian, Geoffrey first came to legal prominence even before he qualified, in the infamous “Oz” trial way back in 1971. “Oz” for those of us not there at the time, was a rather rude, puerile and mildly obscene magazine appealing to students, to which the establishment took offence. Robertson assisted the late great John Mortimer QC (later author of Rumpole of the Bailey) and the editors all were acquitted on appeal. The case broke the back of British censorship laws.
He also defended the directors on the Matrix Churchill case, an “arms – to – Iraq” affair, exposing double dealing and hypocrisy showing that state secrecy conflicts with justice. If the establishment didn’t already cordially hate him by then they sure did afterwards.
Later he advised prosecutors against Dr Hastings Banda of Malawi, and defended Gay News, the ABC trial, and “The Romans in Britain” play.
He is a man who changes the weather and not just legally. As Ben Chu wrote in his blog in the Independent “he doesn’t necessarily win all the cases he is involved with and yet he tends to prevail”. The landscape is different after he passes. His intervention then, is a game-changer.
An author and broadcaster, he is eloquent and sharp. He has a track record of acting (and winning) for liberal causes and he also has a history of being threatened for his defences but taking these in his stride, as was especially seen in his case for Salman Rushdie. Not a man to be frightened off then.
And in what must be a truly astonishing legal coincidence his firm specialises in Scandinavian extradition law!
He is a witty, polished performer, who will play this for the gallery. Assange has summoned up a legal elemental who will be the wind and the tempest, and the on-coming storm.
Copyright David Macadam 2010