updated 07:55 am EDT, Fri March 21, 2014
Supreme court finds lower ruling 'erroneous, greatly complicates defense
The New Zealand Supreme Court has ruled against Internet maven Kim Dotcom, declaring that US prosecutors did not need to pre-disclose evidence against him in a July extradition hearing. The appeals hearing ruled that the lower court was erroneous in its ruling that demanded disclosure of the evidence. A summary of the evidence has already been provided to Dotcom, and is sufficient for defense purposes at this stage, the judges ruled.
Evidence that Dotcom's legal team wants in full are contained on laptops, hard drives, and paper documents seized by New Zealand police in the raid on the Megaupload founder. "We have a much higher hurdle because of today's ruling in getting disclosures, and that will impact the fairness of the [extradition] hearing," Dotcom defense attorney Ira Rothken told Reuters.
Megaupload as a corporate entity was best known for its now-shuttered websites, including the file hosting service megaupload.com. The domain names for the entire company were seized, and the sites associated with Megaupload were shut down by the United States Department of Justice on January 19, 2012, following the indictment and arrests of Dotcom and other owners for allegedly operating as an organization dedicated to copyright infringement.
Dotcom's defense argues that the file locker service was just a file repository for others, and no organized promotion of copyright infringement was made, regardless of data source. The US Department of Justice disagreees, claiming that Dotcom and Megaupload paid bounties to users who uploaded popular content, and deleted infrequently-accessed files. In either case, the judges in New Zealand ruled that for the purposes of an extradition hearing, the full discovery process was not required.