By Peter Kemp, Solicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, on 2010-12-04
Dear Prime Minister
From the Sydney Morning Herald I note you made a comment of "illegal" on the matter of Mr Assange in relation to the ongoing leaks of US diplomatic cables.
Previously your colleague and Attorney General the Honourable McClelland announced an investigation of possible criminality by Mr Assange.
As a lawyer and citizen I find this most disturbing, particularly so when a brief perusal of the Commonwealth Criminal Code shows that liability arises under the Espionage provisions, for example, only when it is the Commonwealth's "secrets" that are disclosed and that there must be intent to damage the Commonwealth.
Likewise under Treason law, there must be an intent to assist an enemy. Clearly, and reinforced by publicly available material such as Professor Saul's excellent article:
...Julian Assange has almost certainly committed no crime under Australian law in relation to his involvement in Wikileaks.
I join with Professor Saul also in asking you Prime Minister why has there been no public complaint to the US about both Secretaries of State Condaleeza Rice and Hillary Clinton being in major breach of International law ie UN Covenants, by making orders to spy on UN personnel, including the Secretary General, to include theft of their credit card details and communication passwords. Perhaps the Attorney General should investigate this clear prima facie evidence of crime (likely against Australian diplomats as well), rather than he attempts to prosecute the messenger of those crimes.
It is also disturbing that no Australian official has castigated Sweden for the shameful treatment Mr Assange has received ie his human rights abused, in that he has not been charged and served with papers in the English language regarding the evidence against him of alleged sexual offences. This is contrary to Article 6 of the European Covenant on Human Rights to which Sweden is a signatory nation.
Those offences remain unclear and the Swedish prosecutor Ms Ny appears to be making up the law as she wants. It appears now, by Ms Ny's interpretation that when consensual sex occurs but if a condom breaks, the male party is liable to 2 years imprisonment for sexual assault. All this information is publicly available.
An Australian citizen is apparently being singled out for "special treatment" Prime Minister. There are legitimate concerns among citizens here that his treatment by the Swedes is connected to US interests which are against the activities of Wikileaks, and you will note the strident, outrageous (and illegal) calls inciting violence against him in the US in demands for his assassination, by senior influential US politicians.
Granted that in western political circles, Mr Assange is not flavour of the month, but what he is doing in my opinion, and in the opinion of many here and abroad, is vitally necessary to expose American foreign policy failures and potential war crimes and crimes against humanity--not for the purpose of damaging US interests but to make them accountable.
While we have close and a good relationship with the US, there is no doubt that US influence and power is declining. That we appear to be still posturing, (given that declining power and a new paradigm of privately enforced accountability) to the US on the issue of Wikileaks is, Prime Minister, deeply disappointing.
(Readers are encouraged contact the Australian Prime Minister here: http://www.pm.gov.au/PM_Connect/Email_your_PM)
Update: Darren Bailey, Solicitor of the Supreme Court of South Australia, has written a letter to the Australian Prime Minister in support of Peter Kemp's argument.