Assange beats Gaga, Jobs to win Time reader poll

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has beaten Lady Gaga, Steve Jobs and Barack Obama to win the reader poll for Time's Person of the Year - but it remains to be seen if the magazine's editors will risk incurring the wrath of the US establishment by bestowing the honour upon him.

The site announced today, as Assange is due to arrive at court in London for an extradition hearing over allegations of sexual offences in Sweden, that the WikiLeaks founder had nabbed nearly one in every three of the votes cast in its poll.

The Australian racked up 382,020 out of the total 1,249,425 votes counted - enough to put him in first place by a considerable margin.

Other nominees who made it to the top ten include Facebook supremo Mark Zuckerberg, the Chilean miners and comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

The race for the coveted title - which has previously been held by such luminaries as Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and Henry Kissinger - isn't over yet, though.

Time's editors have the final say, and will doubtless face considerable pressure over their selection. Since giving the accolade to Iranian leader the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979, the American magazine has avoided handing the award to figures deemed controversial in the US.

The nail-biting wait will be over on Wednesday, when Time's editors unveil their selection live on TV channel NBC.

Whether Assange will still be watching from behind bars by then, we're waiting to find out.