Assange, 48, faces 18 counts in the U.S. including conspiring to hack government computers and violating an espionage law for publishing thousands of classified diplomatic cables. He faces decades in prison if convicted.
But the Wikileaks founder complained he was struggling to hear proceedings from his position in the dock at Woolwich Crown Court and asked to be able to sit with his lawyers.
“I am as much a participant in these proceedings as I am at Wimbledon (tennis),” he told the judge. “I cannot communicate with my lawyers or ask them for clarifications.”
On the third day of the hearing, Assange said he was also unable to communicate privately with his lawyers because of microphones in the dock and unnamed U.S. embassy officials in the courtroom.
Assange’s legal team will submit a formal application for him to leave the dock on Thursday after judge Vanessa Baraitser said such a move was not a risk assessment she could make and questioned whether he would still technically be in custody if allowed out of the dock.
She said most defendants normally sit in the dock and that she could not make exceptions but she did however ask Assange’s legal team to make a formal application that he should be able to move.
James Lewis, for the U.S. government, said he would not object if Assange were allowed to sit in the well of the court handcuffed to a security official.