So, Julian Lasagne has been booted out of the Ecuadorian embassy after seven years. If half of what the embassy staff say is true, he has been an utter arse of a house guest while in there.
Now he is under arrest for skipping bail and could get a year in jail for that. If he is extradited to America he could get five years for attempting to hack into a government computer.
That’s six years. If he hadn’t hidden away he’d have been a free man a year ago.
Many are claiming this is a dangerous precedent for free speech and freedom of the press. No it isn’t. He’s currently arrested for running away from a rape charge. Not for anything press related. If he did indeed hack into a US government computer, well freedom of the press doesn’t cover that either.
His Wikileaks project was, and still is, a great thing. Maybe he is innocent of that rape charge – but running and hiding rather than having his day in court does not look like the actions of an innocent man. It is not proof of guilt, of course, but let’s be honest, it doesn’t look very good.
He had a chance of winning the rape case. He has a chance of winning the hacking case. He cannot win the skipping bail case because he very publicly did exactly that.
See, just because someone does something good and impressive – Wikileaks exposed a lot of corruption – doesn’t mean they are an all-round nice guy as well. It does not mean they get a free pass when accused of rape, nor does it mean they can act like a deranged teenager when they are given protection by an embassy.
He would have had to leave sooner or later. Was he planning to die in there? The charges waiting for him were not going to just go away. The bail-jumping charge was a definite anyway, he might as well face up to it. And the US government does not easily dismiss charges of hacking into their systems. No matter when he came out, that was all waiting for him. It could have all been over by now.
Instead he imprisoned himself for seven years to avoid potentially six years of jail time that he would have to face no matter when he emerged. Oh, and the year for jumping bail would not have applied if he hadn’t jumped bail.
I think he would have won the rape charge case. They had already had consentual sex, the charge was he had another go in the morning, without a condom, before she woke up. Even if he did, it would be very hard for the prosecution to prove it.
Well, it would have been hard to prove. Now he has demonstrated his utter arsery, if I was on the jury I could well believe he’d avail himself of a sleeping woman.
Julian Lasagne’s case is not about free speech, nor about freedom of the press. It’s about a man who ran away from rape charges, was taken in by Ecuador’s embassy and given asylum, and who hid for seven years to dodge five years’ jail time while being the house guest from Hell.
He came out looking like Uncle Albert from Only Fools and Horses. Like the hermit from Life of Brian. He looked like he had given up on any attempt to look after himself.and had completely lost his mind.
I suppose seven years of self-imprisonment, with the knowledge that the chance of six more years of imprisonment was waiting when you come out, can do that to you. There is no escape, only eternal hiding.
This is not a hero. This is a man who once did something great but who has since proved himself to be an arse. This is not about freedom, this is about an alleged rapist who ran and hid and abused the hospitality of those who took him in.
We can applaud his past deeds while still refusing to have him as a house guest.
Now, we are told, he is in the UK’s equivalent of Guantanamo. Interesting. We don’t, as far as I know, have such an equivalent unless it’s the Isle of Wight. Or maybe Scalpay, a grim little island off the coast of Skye. But that’s a farm, not a detention centre.
Calling this an attack on freedom of the press is just silly. He skipped bail on rape charges. That is what he is under arrest for.
The press do not get a free pass on rape, nor on hacking government computers. Not even if their intentions are noble.
And hiding for longer than you would have been in jail for… is very silly.