Currently, the only charges form the British side against him are, that he avoided the criminal procedure (he was, on the British law, a fugitive) by his "visit" on the Ecuadorian Embassy.

Meanwhile, the British police has spent £11million.

Now consider the case if he wouldn't be extradited to the U.S on some reason, and any other "extra-judicial measurement" (for example, "committing suicide" in his cell) wouldn't happen.

What is the punishment for that in English law?

Update: he got 50 weeks, what nears the 1 year maximum. There is no news from financial punishment or extradition.

  • 1
    He got 50 weeks (1 year); independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/….
    – Richard
    Commented May 1, 2019 at 12:17
  • @vsz I am sorry, but this question will remain as it is. It will remain so, because I found shocking that community reaction what I've got for this nuance. And I don't like shocks. Check my previous and following questions about the case - probably you won't find any (for you) problematic part in it. But this post will remain as it is.
    – Gray Sheep
    Commented Jun 1, 2019 at 1:35

4 Answers 4


Up to 12 months in jail. Just by coincidence, only this week some guy who was given a jail sentence of several years for manslaughter, then jumped bail and left the country, and was extradited back to the UK, was given six months jail for jumping bail.

The punishment is for jumping bail, which is an offence independent of whether the original charges are true or false. So the cases are somehow comparable, except Assange jumped bail for seven years, which would be worse, and Assange didn't leave the country but entered a foreign embassy, which I have no idea how that compares to leaving the country.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – feetwet
    Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 19:43
  • Jumping bail by entering embassy has thee notable difference that the person is not lost in a unknown country and location, but confined to a smaller space than he would in a prison. That feels like a reason for some lenience. Commented Jan 24, 2020 at 22:41

12 months in jail and a £5000 fine (probably).

Julian Assange has been convicted of breaching the Bail Act 1976, specifically Section 6; to whit, Offence of absconding by person released on bail.

If a person who—
(a)has been released on bail in criminal proceedings, and
(b)having reasonable cause therefor, has failed to surrender to custody,fails to surrender to custody at the appointed place as soon after the appointed time as is reasonably practicable he shall be guilty of an offence.

The punishment for this offence is

"a term not exceeding 12 months or to a fine [up to £5000] or to both."

Under the circumstances and given the extreme nature of his contempt of court proceedings (hiding for years and making snarky remarks in the press) it seems likely that he will receive the full sentence as well as a £5000 fine on May 2nd.

Judge finds Assange guilty of breaking bail conditions, orders him to appear in court on May 2

Back inside the courtroom, one of Assange's lawyers argued that he did not surrender for bail back in 2012 because he would never have received a fair trial and was thus forced to seek asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy.

The judge appeared to dispute this and called the Australian WikiLeaks founder a “narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interest.”

The judge found Assange guilty of breaking his bail conditions and ordered him to appear on May 2 for an extradition hearing. Until then, he said Assange would remain in custody.

The hearing has now ended.

Judge finds Assange guilty of breaking bail conditions, orders him to appear in court on May 2

He will probably serve a term of at least 3 months in jail (the judge will likely not take his time in the Ecuadorian Embassy into consideration, but he did spend some time on remand and bail before he absconded and while awaiting sentencing) after which he will likely face extradition to either Sweden or the US or deportation to his home country of Australia.

  • 12
    @GraySheep no, they didn't - there were never any charges from Sweden to begin with, just an European Arrest Warrant. This is because the Swedish judicial system requires that the suspect be charged in person at an interview, they cannot be charged in absentia. Sweden dropped the investigation and thus the existing European Arrest Warrant - but they can reopen the investigation at a moments notice and issue a new European Arrest Warrant just as quickly. Given that the victims lawyer is pushing for this to happen, extradition to Sweden is infact highly likely at this point in time.
    – user4210
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 1:24
  • 4
    If Assange is removed to Sweden or the US, the verb normally used would be extradited, not deported.
    – phoog
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 1:28
  • 3
    I think "dropped" has a different connotation to what happened. Three of the four investigations became time-barred because Assange was in the embassy so long and the rape investigation would have become time-barred in 2020 if the Swedish prosecutor had not decided to discontinue it because it could not proceed while Assange was in the embassy, reserving the right to resume it if Assange left the embassy.
    – Lag
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 8:43
  • 2
    @ShazamoMorebucks - I'm reasonably sure ""or to both." indicates that a custodial sentence (or a community order) and a fine can be levied
    – Richard
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 14:28
  • 1
    @dan-klasson "because the Swedish prosecutors refused to interrogate him at the embassy. " - for a time that is true but subsequently the Swedish courts criticised the prosecutors for that (while upholding the warrant) and attempts were made to interview him at the embassy which he and/or his hosts thwarted. Read from para 49 bailii.org/ew/cases/Misc/2018/B3.html
    – Lag
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 14:29

He will likely be charged with Failure to Surrender to Bail

It is an either-way offence, meaning it can be tried either on summary trial, in the magistrates court (with a maximum punishment of 3 months imprisonment), or on indictment in crown court, which carries a maximum punishment of 12 months imprisonment.

It is likely that in his plea before venue, the magistrates court would deny jurisdiction, and so force the case to be heard in the crown court.

In my opinion, Assange ought to plead guilty at first instance, so he can be awarded the maximum credit for a guilty plea of 1/3 off his sentence. (This credit must be given to Assange)

The court will look at the [Sentencing Guidelines]2. Due to the culpability and extent of his offence, he will probably face the maximum sentence of 12 months.

12 months taking away 4 months for guilty plea, means a sentence of 8 months. A person only serves 1/2 of his sentence (yes, this is a rule), so he will only spend 4 months of that sentence incarcerated, the rest of it will be on license (in America, this will be called on parole).

For more in depth information, along with commentary, A lawyer should consult Blackstone's Criminal Practice.

  • 2
    He pled not guilty at the magistrate's court and was sent to crown court for sentencing. Since two of the items under "assessing seriousness" are "[the] extent [to which] the failure to surrender impeded the course of justice" (it caused most of the investigations against him to lapse under the statute of limitations) and " the consequential drain on police and court resources" (however many millions of pounds it cost the police), I agree that a sentence at the high end sounds very likely. Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 14:48
  • 1
    According to news reports he's already been found guilty of failing to surrender by a judge in Westminster Magistrates' Court. His case was then sent to Southwark Crown Court for sentencing. Which sounds like the magistrates' court didn't deny jurisdiction, and was found guilty at a summary trial. bbc.com/news/uk-47891737
    – Ross Ridge
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 17:07
  • @DavidRicherby : Why would anyone in such a situation plead "not guilty", knowing that it will just increase his prison sentence? I know some people are aiming to be seen as martyrs, but how will an extra few months help in achieving that, especially as this sentence won't be for the accusations he was originally fleeing from? For the espionage charges the USA is accusing him, I could understand him denying them (even if pleading guilty might reduce his sentence in the USA if he is extradited), out of principle. But for jumping bail? I thought he was smart enough to listen to his lawyers.
    – vsz
    Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 4:08
  • 1
    @vsz He seems to believe that the sexual assault charges in Sweden are just a sham to get him into an American jail. By extension, the British court proceedings were just a sham to get him into a Swedish jail. Or to put it another way, he's special so the law doesn't apply to him. But people plead not guilty all the time: remember that every court case you hear of where evidence has been heard in front of a jury is after the defendant has pled not guilty. Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 8:31
  • The page you link to says that it's only for 2years+ that you get to serve half the sentence on licence.
    – cnst
    Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 13:47

The current sentence would be 12 months.

  • 1
    Up to 12 months. And answers are always improved by a reference to an authoritative source, rather than just being a somebody-on-the-internet claim. Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 14:51
  • Correct: uo to 12 months for skipping bail under British law.
    – LoriG
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 15:22
  • Also, David Richerby: Please note that everyone on a forum such as this is “some person on the internet” so there is no need for snark
    – LoriG
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 15:24
  • 6
    Yes, everyone here is "some person on the internet". That's why it's important to give sources. Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 15:35
  • The Supreme Court of The United Kingdom also known as British Law by law students and common sense
    – LoriG
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 16:33

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