#JulianAssange extradition hearings Part 2 - Day 11 (Thread)

Court is scheduled to sit from 10:00 am.

Medical experts (such as psychiatrists) are expected to testify over the next 3 days.

But we shall see.

via @SputnikInt
"The next three days will be very difficult for us. The court will hear medical evidence of Julian's physical and mental condition and his likelihood of survival if he is extradited to face 175 years in a US prison.

Please treat Julian with dignity & humanity"

via @StellaMoris1
Section head of Neuropsychiatry at Kings College London Professor Michael Kopelman was sworn in.

Fitzgerald QC tells court that whilst there is no power to prevent the press from reporting whatever is said both parties agreed to “invite sensitivity for some of intimate matters”
Psychiatrist Kopelman has given evidence in many cases for the decades both for the defence and the prosecution.
He found “a very high risk of suicide” should extradition occur. “Suicide risk arises directly from Mr Assange’s psychiatric disorder”
2nd report factors in further info regarding prison conditions in the US and also takes account an improvement of his condition in February and March (moving from severely depressed to moderately depressed) had been taking a medication which “improved the hallucinations a bit”...
...and the fac that he was moved out of relative isolation.
He has always qualified his statements as in “as far as a psychiatrist can say” the risk of suicide should extradition happen or become imminent would be “very high”. He also noted the “abundance of risk factors in his case” & the reported high suicide in US prisons in isolation.
Professor Kopelman conducted an old fashion “history” of the patient.

"I should perhaps say that Mr Assange will be very embarrassed about what will be coming out in public" and so reiterates what Ed Fitzgerald said about inviting sensitivity from the press in its reporting.
“Recurrent depressive disorder with prominent suicidal ideation” was noted by Professor Kopelman and confirms that it became “more severe during the lockdown”
Professor Kopelman assessed that Mr Assange "has a genetic predisposition" to clinical depression with two close relatives who committed sucide. Mr Assange also has a history of depression and self-harm dating back to his time in Australia.
[due to the nature of the testimony I shall be paraphrasing in some cases and in others simply listening but not reporting]
Auditory hallucinations, PTSD has also been noted and Aspergers traits (“undoubted”) but Mr Assange’s warmth and ability to form relations caused the professor to ask an expert in the field to see Mr Assange which he did and we shall hear from his report in due course.
"A risk of suicide arises out of the clinical factors […] but it is the imminent extradition and an actual extradition will trigger the attempt [...] in my opinion", Professor Michael Kopelman says.
“It’s true to say that we can’t add these up and make a mathematical prediction of his suicidal risk all we can do is note that there are an abundant of known risk factors in Mr Assange’s case”, Professor Michael Kopelman says.
In summation Prof Kopelman says that Mr Assange has made various plans and undergone various preparations. He has confessed to a Catholic priest. Prepared farewell letters to family and friends. He has drawn up a will. Various risk factors are in place.
[examination in chief is over]

[cross-examination has now begun]
New bundles from the prosecution bundle has been submitted relatively recently. Professor Kopelman says "I have not seen these at all before".
[Non-verbatim Q&A]
Q. James Lewis QC: You have relied upon the ICD [International Statistical Classification of Diseases] of the WHO?

Prof Kopelman: I’m not a great fan of what I call “those bloody books” such as the ICD or DSM...
... I usually give my clinical diagnosis but then I say what is the equivalent in ICD-10 is.

"I’ve made a clinical diagnosis and I have told you where in ICD-10 it comes"
Q. Differentiation between mild, moderate or severe episodes rests on clinical judgement?
A. Yes, and I would put emphasis on clinical judgement
Q. Could you just run off what you think the common symptoms in the ICD-10 without looking in the book?
A. Professor says he doesn’t just keep these in his head “and reads some key symptoms out”.

James Lewis QC says thank you for reading that out.
Q. Without looking at the book we are interested in what you say and your expertise.

A. You need 4 of the whole bundle of the symptoms to be mild depression.
Q. What is your yardstick for your diagnosis?
A. The yardstick of my diagnosis is my clinical assessment and then the equivalent diagnosis in the ICD.
Q. Lewis after a few more Q's asks if Professor could close the research book in front of him.

A. I think it should be perfectly acceptable for me to have this in front of me. [He keeps book in front of him.]

They are now discussing the different symptoms described in the ICD.
There is some challenge as to Professor Kopelman's credentials by Mr Lewis. The Professor says that is "a bit rich" since his services have been sought out not only by the state in other cases but quite recently by Mr Lewis himself in a separate case. Laughter in the Court.
There is discussion now as to the importance of being aware of exaggeration and malingering by patients. "Spotting exaggerations and malingering" … is in fact "a big part" of neuroscience Professor Kopelaman said.
"Every time I have been to prison, I am aware of the possibility of exaggeration. Every time."

There is now a discussion as to whether Professor Kopelman can, from memory, discuss the principles of being able to spot exaggeration and malingering.
"It's inconsistencies that often give away malingering" but there are advocates who think that some kind of malingering test can be very helpful. But Professor says he is very sceptical about the latter idea.
A. “It is difficult to get the right answer, there is no hard and fast method of doing it”
Q. One of the best tests & controls &detecting exaggeration is close monitoring in a clinical setting?
I fear you are putting words in my mouth. [Judge you're answer was...
...“Yes, there are complicating factors?” Yes my Lady, Professor Kopelman replies.]
There is now a conversation about 2 specific incidents which occurred in prison & were self-reported by Mr Assange to the professor & which the professor noted in his report. There seems to be an implication to determine whether these events were staged/exaggerated by Mr Assange
[10 minute break]
Prosecution & prof have been going back & forth in some detail looking at medical notes & discussing why some material was left out of the court synopsis & why others have not. There's also discussion as to how much evidence there's to corroborate history of clinical depression.
#Assange is at 'Very High Risk of Suicide' Should Extradition Occur, Neuropsychiatrist Tells Court

My summary of this morning's testimony

Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief, explains that he found it "quite appalling" to hear the USG lawyers trying to establish during cross-examination of Prof Koleman, that Mr Assange is "simply making [his clinical depression] up".

via @SputnikInt
*Professor Kopelman NOT Koleman

“The nature of psychiatry is that one relies heavily on self-reports there is no MRI scanner for hallucinations… that’s not how you make the diagnosis”, Prof. Kopelman says to Mr Lewis
Mr Lewis asks Professor Kopelman whether the fact that one has a partner and children is "the best-known protective factor against suicide".

Some studies say that "married people sometimes commit suicide more than unmarried", Professor responds.
Q. an obvious relevant factor to put in your report that he had a partner & his 2 children isn’t it?

A. It was not in the public domain at that point & she was very concerned about privacy & we decided not to put it in. As soon as it became publicly known I put it in the report
Professor Kopelman: It was in the report that he had a partner and 2 children.

Q. But its a relevant factor how could you not put a relevant factor in the report? You have a duty to the court irrespective of confidentiality.
A. Perhaps I didn't completely adhear to my duty to the court under the circumstances I was attempting to be diplomatic.
Q. That Stella Morris was Assange's partner also goes to bias?

A. The court did know from the report and they now know anyhow and they did know from that report she worked closely with him.
Prosecution is now asking whether Prof Kopelman accepts that the report from UN torture report from Nils Melzer is "neither balanced nor accurate".

Answer: "It depends on your perspective".
When asked about Nils Melzer's doc. Prof Kopelman refers to a letter from Nils Melzer "a political document" & there are lots of political experts who are talking to the court. [...] "I am not relying on it in order to make a psychiatric diagnosis".
James Lewis QC continues to refer to report by Nils Melzer referring to it as "complete nonsense" & asking why Professor Kopelman didn't address aspects of it & he responds "I haven't included those bits in my report because they are not relevant to a medical psychiatric report"
“I haven’t included those I don’t see why you are cross-examining me on matters I haven’t included”

"I have only quoted aspects which seen to me relevant to psychiatry and medicine" - Professor Kopelman emphasises.
When accused of "cherry picking" parts of the report, from UN Nils Melzer, Professor Kopelman responds that he has "cherry-picked the parts which seem to me relevant to psychiatry and medicine" and omitted the bits that seemed to be political in nature.
James Lewis QC has pretty aggressive tone towards Professor Kopelman as he continues to cross-examine him on Mr Assange's cognitive abilities as evidenced from his rare comments in court. “As a neuropsychologist I cannot evaluate his mental & cognitive state from what’s in here.”
When asked by Mr Lewis whether the professor is actually trying to help the court Kopelman responds “I’m trying to explain that there is only limited information that can be derived from these very brief interjections that [Mr Assange] makes [in court]".
Q. Don't these interjections made by Mr Assange show that he is closely following these proceedings?

A. "He is attending. He has semantic knowledge of what went on at that time. I can’t comment on what his everyday episodic memory and attention would be on formal tests."
Professor Kopelman says that he was recently tested by another medical professional and despite doing very poorly for his IQ for most of her tests, he pased the two tests for validity. James Lewis says that's not accurate. Prof responds...
... "I’m an expert in neuropsychiatry and neuropsychology" .. "You are quite wrong" the test is literally called the Test of Memory Malingering, it has "malingering" in the name of the test, the Professor Kopelman says.
Professor Kopelman is now being crossed-examined as to whether the his position would change depending on what is concluded about the state of affairs in US prison system and why the Professor didn't offer an either/or position in his report.
Q. His mental conditions wouldn’t affect his running of WikiLeaks?

A. I describe 3 episodes of depression one 20/21 one in 20s, one early 30s and recurrence of depression 2013 – 2016. You could say however that his aspergers was manifesting itself....
...From what I’ve read he wasn’t running this organisation optimally… but he wasn’t suffering from depression at that time.
There has been intense back and forth over the question of prison conditions in the US and what Mr Assange would face and the extent to which Prof Kopelman's assessment of suicidal risk would change depending on what Mr Assange would face in the US prison system.
Prof Kopelman says it is a hypothetical question but that he would have to re-examine "some aspects" of his opinion.
Defence is now re-examining professor Kopelman: “Real hallucinations are vivid and experienced in external space… whereas pseudo hallucinations exhibit as though they come from a “deep crevice” in his mind. "They are consistent with depression".
It’s been suggested to you that you’ve been selective and leaving out things that do not confirm the risk of self-harm, Fitzgerald QC says. He then takes the professor through various examples in the professor’s report of comments by those saying that they see “no self-harm” risk
“Most of what I was asked about this morning was about a time period I hadn’t even seen Mr Assange”, Professor Kopelman notes.

When Professor Kopelman said Mr Assange was “severely depressed” was when he spoke to him from 18 July onwards when he was in an isolation cell.
Professor Kopelman confirms that he thinks he tried his best "to give a fair synopsis". "It is up to her Ladyship" to compare what he wrote with the medical records. "You will see it is much more thorough that what is in any of the other psychiatric reports", he insists.
Q. When you deal with the three incidents, the first in 1991 [...], from discussing that with his family, do you think we can draw a reliable conclusion or not that he was hospitalised?
A. [in short, Yes]
Q. Is the fact of some degree of rational thinking at some point inconsistent with suffering from depression?
A. No. I only use the label psychotic because if you have hallucinations… it goes into the psychotic box but that’s an unfortunate label...
... “Severe depression” with “hallucinations” is how the professor would prefer to put it.
Q. My learned friend was suggesting that your opinion was depended about assumptions of US conditions. When you wrote [your first report] were you dependent on prison conditions?
A. No [with a fuller explanation]
Q. Ignoring prison conditions and only looking at extradition is Mr Assange at risk of suicide?

A. The depression, mixed in with his anxiety and agitation, I believe pre-disposes him strongly… [and its particular aspects of his depression] the context of the particular...
....mental phenomena that he is experiencing in the context of that depression, if extradition became imminent or were to happen that would be the trigger to a suicide attempt.
Professor Kopelman notes that in a prior case "we were being reassured", the way Mr Kromberg was reassuring about conditions in the ADX, and then that is when Jeffrey Epstein hanged himself, which went to show "that those reassurances were not that reassuring".
After a few more questions re-examination is over. Professor Kopelman is now discharged of his duties.

House Keeping matters regarding witness lists to be dealt with.

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1 Oct
#JulianAssange extradition hearings Part 2 - Day 18 (Thread)

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via @SputnikInt

(Like the last two days I shall be attending today's hearings from inside the Old Bailey via the press annex. This case may end up finishing one day earlier than scheduled)
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#JulianAssange extradition hearings Part 2 - Day 17 (Thread)

Court is commencing now at 10:00 BST

via @SputnikInt

(Now that I am on the court list I shall be attending via the press annex, though I'll still be watching via video link :)
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29 Sep
#JulianAssange extradition hearings Part 2 - Day 16 (Thread)

Court is commencing now at 10:00 BST

via @SputnikInt

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#JulianAssange extradition hearings Part 2 - Day 15 (Thread)

Court is commencing now at 10:00 BST

(Witness Yancey Ellis' video connection is being sorted out)

via @SputnikInt
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#JulianAssange extradition hearings Part 2 - Day 14 (Thread)

Court is due to sit at 10:00 BST

(Another chilly Friday morning)

via @SputnikInt
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24 Sep
#JulianAssange extradition hearings Part 2 - Day 13 (Thread)

Court is due to sit at 12:00 BST

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via @SputnikInt
Joseph Farrell, WikiLeaks ambassador, arrives at the Old Bailey.
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