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Dotcom’s evidence dispute returns to New Zealand court

By | Published on Tuesday 30 July 2013

Kim Schmitz

The increasingly tedious battle between MegaUpload founder Kim ‘Dotcom’ Schmitz and the American and New Zealand governments over what evidence the former should have access to, as he fights extradition attempts, is back in court.

As much previously reported, the US government is trying to extradite Dotcom and friends to face charges of money laundering, racketeering and copyright infringement in relation to the original MegaUpload enterprise, shut down by the American authorities in January 2012.

Extradition efforts, being led by the New Zealand government on behalf of the Americans, have been long drawn out because of various complications, including the fact the authorities in New Zealand raided Dotcom’s home with the wrong warrant, and then breached rules by allowing the Americans to take seized evidence out of the country.

Dotcom’s lawyers have also been pushing for access to all of the evidence the US government has against the former MegaUpload business, arguing that they need to see it in order to properly fight the extradition application.

The New Zealand authorities insist that it’s not standard practice to hand over all evidence in that way in extradition hearings, and a summary of evidence from the US authorities should suffice.

When the dispute first went to court, Dotcom’s people prevailed and the US was ordered to hand over all its Mega files. But then in May an appeals court sided with the authorities, so now Team Dotcom are taking the matter to Supreme Court.

Yesterday, according to The Press, lawyers for the New Zealand government again stressed that there was no precedent for the courts to order the authorities to share all their evidence in an extradition case, and that doing so would run contrary to national law, and also the country’s extradition agreement with the US.

The hearing on the evidence issue isn’t expected to last long, with five judges then due to rule on the matter. Dotcom’s much-postponed extradition hearing is now set for November, though even that might be looking ambitious.