Yes. I agree it's not an ideal thing to have to consider money in the pursuit of justice. But it is a reality. Do you think that police and politicians at times set enforcement priorities or resource allocations in such a way that favors enforcement of some laws at the expense of others? Because they do, I promise. :) So in reality we're *always* balancing cost vs. benefit to society. I think what I hear you saying is that even knowing this, you feel like the cost to pursue this individual is acceptable because not doing so would in the final analysis result in more crime as Joe Average becomes a scofflaw. I disagree -- I see zero chance of the sky falling. But I could be horribly wrong and so I respect your opinion nonetheless.
"The legal and court system has to be seen to work."
I agree. Is the system really working if we have piles and piles of money being spent on this one jerk when there are much more serious crimes to pursue? I'm not suggesting that they give up. Register a Red Notice in Interpol. Add him to do-not-fly list. Put a bounty on his head. And then move on.
"But not until after he's been punished for [...] Bail jumping and contempt of court."
Agreed on enforcement priorities.
"The Judge who authorised the extradition has considered it fully [...] More informed minds than ours have assessed the risk [...]"
Possibly, but I sincerely doubt it. Have you ever seen a court decision that was wrong beyond imagination? Have you ever noticed how many decisions are overturned on appeal? Have you ever heard of a judge lacking the skills and knowledge necessary to properly assess the case before them? Judges are just people like you and I. I think it's far more likely the judge in question didn't seriously consider the risks.
In any case, I think we both agree it would be nice to see Mr. Assange face proper justice. Cheers!