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MegaUpload chief’s extradition hearing postponed into 2013

By | Published on Tuesday 10 July 2012

Kim Schmitz

Previously reported legal wranglings over evidence and warrants have pushed back the extradition hearing of MegaUpload founder Kim ‘Dotcom’ Schmitz, which was originally due to take place on 6 Aug. According to legal reps for the MegaUpload chief, America’s bid to extradite their client from New Zealand to the US to face copyright infringement charges will now not take place until next March.

As previously reported, New Zealand prosecutors working on behalf of the US authorities have hit a number of setbacks in court as the Americans try to extradite Dotcom and three other former MegaUpload executives. The courts have ruled that the warrant used to search Dotcom’s New Zealand home back in January, as the US authorities were in the process of shutting down the MegaUpload website, was the wrong sort, rendering the raid illegal.

A judge also ruled that New Zealand authorities should not have let US investigators take copies of data seized during that raid back to the States, and that the American authorities should make available to Dotcom’s defence team all the evidence they have against the MegaUpload founder in their criminal case against him before any extradition hearing takes place.

Although none of these issues should directly affect America’s case for extraditing Dotcom, they have caused delays, not least because of reports New Zealand prosecutors plan to appeal some or all of the rulings that have gone against them so far. All of which made the August date for an extradition hearing wholly unrealistic.

Dotcom reckons that all these events in court so far ultimately go in his favour, and weaken the US government’s case against the MegaUpload company and its management, but he was critical yesterday of the delay it has caused to his extradition hearing, presumably keen to have the matter resolved once and for all, even if there is a risk of it meaning he might be taken to the US where, if found guilty of the charges made against him, he could face jail time.

He tweeted yesterday: “Extradition hearing delayed til March. Dirty delay tactics by the US. They destroyed my business. Took all my assets. Time does the rest”.

Meanwhile one of Dotcom’s legal team, William Akel, told Reuters: “You obviously want the extradition case to go ahead as soon as you can, but you have to put up with the inevitable. It was inevitable that the hearing for August was going to be vacated because we have two existing cases in the High Court”.