The CPS, responding to questions from the Guardian, denied there were any legal implications of the data loss for an Assange case if it were to come to court in the future. Asked if the CPS had any idea what was destroyed, a spokesperson said: “We have no way of knowing the content of email accounts once they have been deleted.”
“It is incredible to me these records about an ongoing and high-profile case have been destroyed. I think they have something to hide,” La Repubblica reporter Stefania Maurizi said.
In a statement released Friday, the CPS explained why the emails concerning Assange were deleted, saying, “The individual to whom you refer was a lawyer in the CPS extradition unit discussing matters relating to extradition proceedings which concluded in 2012. The case was, therefore, not live when the email account was deleted. Most casework papers and related material are stored for three years following the conclusion of proceedings, or for the duration of the convicted defendant’s sentence plus three months. In some cases material may be held for longer.”
In May, Sweden announced it was dropped rape charges against Assange.
Assange called the development an “important victory” and went on to critique the European Union and decrying the “terrible injustice” that led to his incarceration.
Speaking from the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Assange told reporters, “Seven years without charge, while my children grew up without me. That is not something I can forgive, it is not something I can forget.
“The inevitable enquiry into what has occurred in this moment of terrible injustice is something that I hope will be just about me and this situation. Because the reality is, detention and extradition without charge has become a feature of the European Union. A feature that has been exploited, yes, in my case, for political reasons, but in other cases has subjected many people to terrible injustice,” added Assange.