Chief Justice of England & Wales, Who Blocked Lauri Love Extradition, Joins Bench for Assange Hearing

The most senior judge in England and Wales, who let activist Lori Love evade extradition to the U.S. on humanitarian grounds, will join Lord Justice Timothy Holroyde at the U.S. appeal hearing against Julian Assange next week.

Burnett. (Magistrate’s Association)

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

Ian Duncan Burnett, the most powerful judge in England and Wales, will join Lord Justice Timothy Holroyde on the bench next week for the two-day U.S. appeal in the extradition case of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange at the High Court in London, according to a spokesman at the Royal Courts of Justice.

Burnett, known as Baron Burnett of Maldon, was the High Court justice who on humanitarian grounds overturned a lower court ruling that British activist Lauri Love should be extradited to the United States.  Burnett ruled in February 2018 that Love’s extradition would be “oppressive by reason of his physical and mental condition.”

Burnett and Mr. Justice Duncan Ouseley said in their decision that, “We accept that the evidence shows that the fact of extradition would bring on severe depression, and that Mr. Love would probably be determined to commit suicide, here or in America.” 

Instead they recommended that Love be tried in the United Kingdom on charges of hacking into U.S. government computers. (The U.S. then dropped the charges.) Unlike Love, Assange is accused of no crimes in Britain. But like Love, he has been deemed (by the magistrate’s court) at high risk of suicide if he were to be extradited to the United States. 

The U.S. is appealing the lower court’s decision not to extradite Assange to the U.S. based on his propensity for suicide. The U.S. is arguing that Assange is not too sick to be sent to the U.S. and that he is a malingerer.

Holroyde is the High Court judge who on Aug. 11 reversed an earlier High Court order limiting the U.S. from appealing Assange’s medical issues. Holroyde was originally to sit with Dame Judith Farbey, according to the Ministry of Justice. 

Burnett has presided over some of the most high profile cases in Britain in recent years, including the 1987 Kings Cross fire, the inquiry into the convictions of the Guildford Four and Maguire Seven, the 1997 Southall rail crash and 1999 Ladbroke Grove rail crash inquiries and the 1997 inquest into the deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales, and Dodi Fayed.

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former UN correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe,  and numerous other newspapers. He was an investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London and began his professional work as a stringer for The New York Times.  He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @unjoe .

Please Support CN’s
Fall Fund Drive!

Donate securely with PayPal


Or securely by credit card or check by clicking the red button:





30 comments for “Chief Justice of England & Wales, Who Blocked Lauri Love Extradition, Joins Bench for Assange Hearing

  1. Em
    October 24, 2021 at 12:54

    Spinning fabulist political rhetoric into political capital, wherever the source, is nowadays become an in-your-face universal practice, thanks to the lamp-light of good guy whistle-blowers everywhere.

    The glaring example is today the despicable, duplicitous, doublespeak, duplication of hypocritical argument between so-called democracy and super nationalist autocracy.

    If the truth is not staring us in the face by now, will it ever!

    Turkey’s President moves to throw out 10 supposedly leading moral ambassadors from his fiefdom, because they are speaking out against his ill treatment of one of his subjects.

    And, of course, which country’s ambassador is at the head of the pack?

    Need it even be formally stated: the US; Canada, France, Finland, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden; seven being fellow NATO allies of Turkey.

    The Duce of Sovereign Turkey is furious at the interference by these states’ envoys, in the internal affairs of Turkey; for calling for the urgent release of a political activist being held prisoner – who has been held in prison for more than four years, over his protests and a supposed coup attempt, against the regime – although he has not yet been convicted.

    From the BBC: “The Council of Europe, Europe’s main human rights watchdog, has given Turkey a final warning to heed a European Court of Human Rights ruling to free the (accused) pending trial”. There has indeed been a peep heard from the Council of Europe in support of Julian Assange not being extradited to the US, somewhere way back in 2020, if I’m not mistaken. But freedom of speech still being what it is, I’m sure someone will speak up if I’m in error!
    How do we like them apples? BBC to the rescue of democracy being trampled, by one of the outgroup members.

    Yet, where have these seven NATO allied countries, of glaring example been, in standing up for basic democratic legal processes, not only for an illegally incarcerated accused, but for one who has been forcibly confined, in almost solitary confinement, for nearly twelve years, and cannot, legitimately, even been formally charged of any crime?
    We know where the BBC’s biases lie!

    It need not be formally mentioned of whom it is we speak: JULIAN ASSANGE!

  2. Clare Sandercock
    October 24, 2021 at 10:51

    All Julian Assange did was expose some unpleasant truths. We rely on honest journalists to get to the bottom of underhand and unknown facts. This is the Snowdon exposure all over again – we need people like these – people with a conscience – he should never have been sent to Belmarsh please send him back to Austrailia.

  3. October 24, 2021 at 05:34

    I am British, and took my family to the US. We returned to Britain during Nixon’s time. As a British man who served in the military, I will feel deeply ashamed if Assange is sent to the US. – Ivor Catt

  4. Graham lewinton
    October 24, 2021 at 03:36

    I hope Julian Assange never goes to America, and I hope he leaves Belmarsh, on humanity grounds to get proper treatment in Australia, and I’d like to England recover its moral backbone

  5. Lionel Monash Hurst
    October 24, 2021 at 01:29

    The facts that we are at this point and Assange is still in solitary confinement proves conclusively that, whatever happens from here, that there is no justice in England, the USA or Australia.

    • mary-lou
      October 24, 2021 at 05:06

      the old empire, crumbling.

  6. Amanda Bicknell
    October 24, 2021 at 01:00

    I am glad there is a chance for a more balanced verdict for someone who has not committed any crime but merely presented information in order that people be held to account if wrong doing is found to be done. We must accept the freedom of speech, whistle blowing and accountability as part of our democracy.

  7. Clare ridsdale
    October 24, 2021 at 00:46

    Well by next week we will know if this is yet another way to apparantly apease the protestors…. BTW, why not a woman?! We look better in the wig than silly old white man pretending its the last century :-)

    • RH
      October 25, 2021 at 03:20

      Dame Judith Farbey heard the case in August alongside Holroyde.

    • Tim Slater
      October 25, 2021 at 05:56

      Clare Ridsdale, you are off by a couple of centuries!

  8. Tanya Kasim
    October 23, 2021 at 23:42

    Why on earth should the UK extradite a British citizen to the United States? That doesn’t make any sense!

      October 24, 2021 at 02:33

      He is an Australian citizen.

  9. Anonymot
    October 23, 2021 at 21:37

    Of course, should there be a ruling against Assange they will be in the position to say the highest judge in the land who ruled in favor of Love, etc.

    Let’s hope Chief Justice Lord Baron Barnett can rise above the power of the CIA, Hillary, MIC, Pompeo ad nauseum and their collective power in the UK.

  10. Suesy Circosta
    October 23, 2021 at 21:09

    Hasn’t he been punished enough for exposing the truth. Where is ‘for the greater good’ if individuals lose their right to expose atrocities.

  11. Tracey Hart
    October 23, 2021 at 20:49

    Let us hope that the corruption does not infiltrate & that justice is allowed to prevail on an honest basis with both judges. That no one can be persecuted in such a way that Julian Assange has been for simply telling the world the truth. Let’s keep the channels of freedom & democracy open & end the corruption once & for all. My wish for Julian is that he can be free & allowed to live a live without fear, so that he can enjoy life with his family. He has suffered long enough. Shame on those that cannot bear the truth being exposed of their wrong doings, these are the ones that the world should persecute!

  12. June
    October 23, 2021 at 20:31

    Without free press there can be no Democracy.
    Show Mercy for Julian.
    He was a journalist doing his job like many journalists today. Exposing the truth should not be a crime!
    He has been locked away inhumanely, for too long.
    He is Australian and needs to be allowed to come back with his Family, not sent to the slaughter in the US.
    I ask for the Chief Justice to make the decision to stop the extradition and allow Julian to get on with his life.

  13. Peter Edwards
    October 23, 2021 at 20:24

    Whilst Assange has faults and under retrospective (and perhaps questionable) US law he committed a crime, the Justice Dept has tried an incredible end game of its own to firstly get Assange arrainged on seperate and interesting circumstance to then throw the espionage book at him. I have often seen their actions in the light of Washington standing next to the fallen cherry tree, but blaming his Father for discovering the act. Assange may well, as the publisher of the cables etc, broken the law, however we can not forget the massive crimes desctibed therein, against innocents, against allies and against humanity. These by any measure of decency outweigh his alleged wrongdoing. I hope His Lordship can bring a calm measured and fair-minded hand to the table.

  14. Gabrielle L. Drinkwater
    October 23, 2021 at 20:00

    In a World where Common Decency is disappearing SO quickly; where Children are NOT being given examples of TRUTH being the only and best way as an example..WHY in a world where the Highest Courts AND Supposedly The most Sound Thinkers AND Readers of LAW, SEEM to IGNORE the most BASIC Principle of DO NO HARM??? Whatever Assange may have done with GOOD intent , however IRKSOME to those who want SECRECY to RULE…HE HAS PAID an ULTIMATE PRICE ..ALREADY!!!!

    SET HIM FREE..for Decency’s SAKE!!!!!!!

  15. rick
    October 23, 2021 at 19:29

    Can we honestly believe that the US extradition appeal will follow due process and acknowledge the full legal and human rights of an innocent journalist who has been detained without charge in a maximum high security facility reserved for murders and terrorists? The contrived appointment of a commanding senior judge (Ian Duncan Burnett) over a subaltern (Judge Timothy Holroyde) may prove instructive of doubts in the perception management by the UK Government of the outcomes of the appeal hearing and the legal chicanery that preceded it. Can we envisage the most senior judge in the UK admonishing the UK and US governments for their perfidious treatment of Julian Assange or are we to be treated to a “tweedledum and tweedledee” debate staged for the salutary appreciation of the international Western MSM?

  16. Lily
    October 23, 2021 at 08:56


    Perhaps there is some hope now for Julian Assange, the British judical system and the freedom of the press.

    Julian Assange is an exceptional good journalist. He should be able to be free to do his work.

    Thank you, Joe Lauria, for your concise information on this important subject.

  17. Em
    October 23, 2021 at 06:45


    Sad to say, by the looks of the British justice systems costume party ‘get-up’ nothing has changed with the British aristocracy.

    Question: Does a Baron outrank a Lord; oh lord!

  18. Pedro
    October 22, 2021 at 18:40

    One hopes this is good news for Assange, and for Britain. To extradite Mr. Assange to the vindictive united states would be bad for the world as well as fatal for British Justice.

    • Peter Boyle
      October 23, 2021 at 12:39

      A baron is a lord.

      • Em
        October 23, 2021 at 15:33

        … as an English solicitor is the equivalent of a US attorney.

        Apparently “in justice” can play out similarly universally!

        And, especially when its motivation is based on collusive, draconian political practices of revenge, it is definitely not justice.

  19. evelync
    October 22, 2021 at 17:44

    It’s hopeful to know that someone who has shown “the quality of mercy” before will be on the bench.

    “The quality of mercy is not strain’d,
    It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
    Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
    It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
    ‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest…. “

    • jean mckay
      October 23, 2021 at 19:35

      Just Lovely
      Thank You

    • Karoline
      October 24, 2021 at 04:24

      Herzlichen Dank an Shakespeare für die wunderschönen Worte, die Wahrheit und Schönheit zu einer Art heilender Musik verbinden. Harte hasserfüllte Taten tönen den Tätern in deren Zukunft anders! Mögen auch sie wagen, die Quelle alles Heilsamen zu suchen.

  20. Elyse Gilbert
    October 22, 2021 at 17:38

    Cautiously OPTIMISTIC reading this especially after being petrified about Holroyde originally set to preside over the case!

  21. Nylene13
    October 22, 2021 at 17:28

    “Without a Free Press, there can be no Democracy”
    Thomas Jefferson

    No wonder New York City is allowing Thomas Jefferson’s statue of him holding the Declaration of Independence to be taken down and hidden away-or destroyed.

  22. pH
    October 22, 2021 at 17:27

    Thanks Joe Lauria. Not sure how to interpret this. Though it surely is more end run obfuscation, is it possible deal makers are aiming for terminal political prisoner status for JA in UK? Ad nauseam appeals, under revolving administrations, etc. Please keep it coming. Not a peep from the peanut gallery. You are our connection in a field of tragically few.

Comments are closed.