Assange trial judge: hacks can tweet from court

The judge at WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's court hearing today has taken the extraordinary step of allowing journalists to 'tweet' proceedings from the court on micro-blogging site Twitter, according to a reporter at the hearing.

The claim was made in a post by Times correspondent Alexi Mostrous, sent from inside Westminster Magistrates Court itself:

"judge just gave me explicit permission to tweet proceedings 'if it's quiet and doesn't disturb anything'".

Under established rules, the use of mobile phones and other devices is strictly prohibited in UK courtrooms, where photography is not permitted and even court artists are obliged to draw proceedings from memory. Offenders face fines of up to £2,500 or up to three months in jail.

Assange is in court to appeal against a decision last week by District Judge Howard Riddle to deny him bail. He is represented by a legal team including renowned barristers Geoffrey Robertson and Helena Kennedy.

The Australian has spent a week in HM Prison Wandsworth, since his last hearing on 7th December. He faces extradition to Sweden for questioning over alleged sexual offences.

Assange denies all allegations.