MegaUpload Founder's Right To See Extradition Evidence Against Him Upheld
In the continuing saga of the US versus Kim Dotcom, founder of MegaUpload, the US has hit a significant setback in its attempts to extradite him to America in order to stand trial on charges of fraud, money laundering and of course, massive criminal copyright infringement.
Dotcom has repeatedly demanded that he should be allowed to see the evidence against him so that he can mount a proper defence against it at his extradition hearing next year. However, US prosecutors have done everything in their power to deny Dotcom the right see this evidence, claiming that no disclosure right exists. Now, since the power of America's extradition charges are only as strong as this evidence, it makes one wonder exactly how strong this evidence really is, otherwise what are they afraid of if Dotcom sees it? Unsurprisingly, Dotcom claims that there is little to no evidence supporting these charges.
The setback for the US comes in the form of New Zealand judge David Harvey's decision in May that Dotcom and his lawyers do indeed have a right to see the evidence against him - a decision that was upheld today. Judge Harvey ordered disclosure of all documents relating to the alleged crimes of the so-called MegaUpload Conspiracy. The judge wrote, "In my view there must be fairness and the hearing and balance must be struck, otherwise the record of case becomes dominant virtually to the exclusion of everything else and places the extradition process in danger of becoming an administrative one rather than judicial". Judge Harvey later stepped down after allegedly describing the United States as "the enemy".
Refusing to concede defeat however, US prosecutors pushed for a judicial review of Judge Harvey's ruling, hoping to get it overturned. However, this was denied today, with the High Court upholding the earlier decision. Justice Helen Winkelmann dismissed the application for a judicial review, noting that without full disclosure of the evidence, Dotcom and his co-accused, Mathias Ortmann, Finn Batato and Bram van der Kolk, wouldn't be able to mount a proper defence at their extradition hearing. "Without disclosure [Kim Dotcom and associates] will be significantly constrained in [their] ability to participate in the hearing, and the requesting state will have a significant advantage in terms of access to information," the ruling reads.
This ruling marks a significant victory for Dotcom, his associates and their legal team. The hearing is due to be held sometime in early 2013.
The documents to be disclosed are significant in their scope, encompassing all elements of the case from the allegations of infringement, through to information being held on the nature of the Megaupload rewards program.
Posted by | Thu, Aug 16, 2012 - 04:26 PM