The extradition case against Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom as well as Mathias Ortmann, Finn Batato and Bram van der Kolk to the US, is to be delayed until March 2013.
The hearing was set for August 6th 2012 which would have made it approximately 6 months since the initial arrest, seizure of the Megaupload site as well as servers and assets belonging to Kim Dotcom back in January this year. Mr Dotcom, along with Mathias Ortmann, Finn Batato and Bram van der Kolk were first arrested on 19 January 2012, just hours after SOPA was defeated in the US, following an indictment was filed against the file hosting company alleging mass copyright infringement.
Since that time, the warrants used in the arrests have been deemed invalid by the New Zealand High Court. Justice Helen Winkelmann said (June 28th 2012) the search warrants used were too broad and police exceeded their powers in seizing what they did. She also said it was unlawful for copies of Dotcom’s computer files to be taken by US authorities (FBI) and New Zealand police should return copies to 38-year-old Dotcom. The warrants, she said, “fell well short” of sufficiently describing the related offences. “They were general warrants, and as such, are invalid,” she said in her judgment (PDF below). She also found the removal of cloned hard drive images by the FBI to the United States was unlawful.
Prior to that on Friday 16th March 2012 New Zealand Judge, Justice Judith Potter in the High Court declared the order used to seize Dotcom’s property “null and void” after it was discovered that the police had acted under a court order that should have never been granted. The error dates back to January when the police applied for the order granting them permission to seize Dotcom’s property. Rather than applying for an interim restraining order, the Police Commissioner applied for a foreign restraining order instead, one which did not give Dotcom a chance to mount a defense.
The raid led to Dotcom’s Megaupload sites – which carried 4 per cent of internet traffic – being pulled down and $200m in assets seized. A fascinated public watched as officials took a string of luxury cars from the $30 million mansion in North Auckland where Dotcom, wife Mona and their three (now 5) children lived.
Justice Helen Winkelmann verdict on the legitimacy of the search warrants used in the seizure of Kim Dotcom s assets and the illegal obtaining of data by the FBI
Kim Dotcom has expressed his frustrations via his Twitter account accusing the US of using Dirty Tactics in delaying the hearing, which has so far all but destroyed the man
He also railed against New Zealand Prime Minister John Key for refusing him due process and a fair defence, as he is entitled to as a permanent resident of New Zealand.
What has happened to Kim Dotcom, his wife, his children, Mathias Ortmann, Finn Batato and Bram van der Kolk is disgraceful and the US should be ashamed for acting on the behalf of corporate greed led by Chris Dodds MPAA. It’s also sad to see that the NZ government were also happy to comply with the US orders instead of protecting its residents.
Here is a copy of the original indictment against Megaupload:
Sources: TorrentFreak, 3News, AllVoices