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MegaUpload defence to get underway next week

By | Published on Friday 30 October 2015


Legal reps for MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom will begin their defence on Monday in the extradition hearing that will decide whether he and three ex-colleagues should face criminal charges in relation to their former business in a US court.

If you’re getting a sense of déjà vu here, yes, that was meant to happen four weeks ago, after prosecutors wrapped up their arguments at the start of the month as to why Dotcom et al should be extradited. But the MegaUpload defence has so far spent its defence time arguing that no defence should be necessary. Though without success.

As previously reported, legal reps for Dotcom and friends say it is impossible for their clients to get a fair extradition hearing because, although US officials have unfrozen some of the cash seized when MegaUpload was shutdown by the authorities in 2012, the four men can only use that money within New Zealand. But, the lawyers say, US expertise needs to be hired to ensure their clients are properly represented.

Team Mega tried to have the already much-delayed extradition hearing postponed yet again last month based on those arguments. When they failed to get that postponement, they used the first day of the court hearing itself to again call for the proceedings to be delayed. And when that call went unanswered, they used their defence time to again insist their clients needed more cash to fight the case against them.

The judge overseeing the extradition proceedings, Nevin Dawson, has again refused to call off the current hearing, while also rejecting calls for an extended discussion on the defence’s arguments as to why the case should be postponed or dismissed. Which means, on Monday, Team Mega will actually have to respond to the arguments previously put forward by the prosecution, rather than just re-running the case for postponement.

Responding to that news, Dotcom himself said: “We will identify why the United States case is flawed [next week]. Sadly because of the limited focus of such an extradition hearing I can’t call the required and planned expert evidence to simply answer the incorrect factual assertions by the United States. The United States won’t permit [experts] to be paid”.

He went on: “The case will now turn on important legal argument. We outline this on Monday. However, when we enter the ring we do so to win. The obstacles the United States has put up to stop us from fighting back won’t stop us. We won’t be silenced by bullies! I wish you could all be at my court hearing on Monday. It’s going to be good”.

With so much time having been spent to date on the defence’s part on legal technicalities and finance issues, it will be interesting to finally hear their arguments against the actual charges Dotcom et al face, ie those of money laundering, racketeering and rampant copyright infringement. Safe harbours are sure to make an appearance.