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Prosecution set out to embarrass Kim Dotcom, says MegaUpload defence

By | Published on Friday 13 November 2015


The MegaUpload extradition hearing continues to go through the motions in New Zealand, and while it was originally hoped the proceedings would be done within a month, the whole thing enters its ninth week on Monday.

As much previously reported, the US authorities are trying to extradite MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom, and three of his former colleagues, to face criminal charges of money laundering, racketeering and copyright infringement in relation to their old business.

Legal reps for the former MegaUpload chiefs repeatedly argued that the extradition hearing should be postponed, so that the defendants could try to get access to more of the funds seized from their company when it was shut down by the feds in 2012, mainly to pay US legal experts to testify on their behalf.

The judge hearing the case repeatedly refused that request, so that Team Mega actually had to begin arguing against the reasons the US – via New Zealand prosecutors – had given for extraditing Dotcom et al to America. Copyright infringement isn’t covered by the US/New Zealand extradition treaty, the defence lawyers then said, prosecutors had misrepresented their client’s previous conversations, and anyway, “safe harbours”.

This week Ron Mansfield, representing Dotcom, also accused the prosecution of presenting irrelevant evidence at start of the case simply to prejudice the public against his client.

Among the various transcriptions of conversations between the former MegaUpload management, which were presented by Crown prosecutor Christine Gordon, was one in which Dotcom told one of his co-defendants that “Aussies” were “just as dumb as Kiwis”.

Gordon suggested that that remark was made during a conversation about Australian efforts to shut down MegaUpload. But, said Mansfield, that chat had actually been about Megapay, a venture that has nothing to do with the copyright case. It was only mentioned, Mansfield reckons, to embarrass Dotcom in his adopted home, where he previously had political ambitions.

According to the New Zealand Herald, Mansfield told the court: “This reference is entirely misleading. Rather, it was chosen by the United States for the media attention this would no doubt have. This choice proved to be correct given the media attention that followed, but its inclusion is entirely irrelevant, misleading, and unreliable. Its inclusion was designed to unfairly attract prejudice against Mr Dotcom”.

With that last complaint filed, Mansfield has now completed his defence for Dotcom, though lawyers for the other defendants still need to speak, so the case will run well into next week at least.