Watch as Julian Assange lands in Australia after walking free in US plea deal

Watch as Julian Assange lands in Australia after walking free on Wednesday 26 June from a court on the US Pacific island territory of Saipan after pleading guilty to violating US espionage law, in a deal that allowed him to head straight home.

His release ends a 14-year legal saga in which Mr Assange spent more than five years in a British high-security jail and seven years in asylum at the Ecuadorean embassy in London battling extradition to Sweden on sexual assault allegations and to the US, where he faced 18 criminal charges.

Those charges stemmed from WikiLeaks’ release in 2010 of hundreds of thousands of classified US military documents on wars in Afghanistan and Iraq - one of the largest breaches of secret information in US history.

During a three-hour hearing in Saipan, Mr Assange pleaded guilty to one criminal count of conspiring to obtain and disclose classified national defence documents but said he had believed the US Constitution’s First Amendment, which protects free speech, shielded his activities.

Chief US District Judge Ramona V. Manglona accepted his guilty plea, noting that the US government indicated there was no personal victim from his actions.

She wished Mr Assange, who turns 53 on 3 July, an early happy birthday as she released him due to time already served in a British jail.