Dotcom and modernising extradition laws

Stuff recently reported that Kim Dotcom extradition appeal to be heard in August

Following the judgment in December they immediately launched an appeal and Justice Raynor Asher called a case review conference on Tuesday where he set a date for the appeal for August 29.

That would give him time to consider his decision and have a judgment ready before the end of the year, he said.

This was despite the United States asking for an earlier date, saying the appeal was of a matter of urgency.

No sign of urgency here, it is four years since Dotcom’s arrest.

Judge Nevin Dawson ruled the Mega moguls be eligible for extradition shortly before Christmas, following a lengthy nine week hearing at the North Shore District Court at Auckland.

He ruled the US had a “large body of evidence” which supported a prima facie case, and that Dotcom and his co-accused “fall well short of undermining the case.”

Dotcom and his Mega co-founders were back in the High Court at Auckland on Tuesday launching an appeal against an earlier District Court decision that he and his co-accused Mathias Ortmann, Fin Batato and Bram van der Kolk, were eligible for extradition to the United States on copyright charges.

David Fisher wrote Kim Dotcom might enjoy another summer

The charges relate to Dotcom’s Megaupload website, which was shut down in a global raid in 2012.

Yes, that’s four years ago.

The delays to this point have, to a great extent, been understandable. The Crown failed to cover itself in glory from the outset, and genuine questions needed judicial answers over discovery, illegal spying and search warrants.

The Crown today pushed for an earlier hearing but was defeated. The issues, said Dotcom’s team, were very complex and needed time to air. The High Court penciled in a date when the first signs of spring are starting to show.

Everyone can again display their expertise at length after the High Court scheduled the appeal for eight weeks from the end of August. That means it is scheduled to wander through to mid-October. Expect further appeals after that.

Guilty or not, liable for extradition or not, whatever — Dotcom looks likely to welcome in the 2017 New Year in New Zealand.

The Law Commission refers to the lengthy Dotcom extradition process in making recommendations for changes. The Herald reports Law change needed to tackle cross-border crime.

The growing problem of cross-border crime means the law should be changed to ensure New Zealand does its part, a review by the commission has concluded.

The report, released today, contains three key recommendations:

  • Requests from the vast majority of countries should be processed in the same way. Currently, the formal extradition steps vary considerably depending on which country is making the request, and treaties in place that are mostly over 100 years old.
  • Tailor-made rules should guide extradition proceedings. There should be a single appeal route, rather than the current regime that enables multiple and separate appeals and judicial reviews.
  • A new central authority should be created to manage all extradition requests. It would consider whether to commence an extradition proceeding, a call that would involve assessing the likelihood of success.

The Law Commission said making the extradition process more straightforward could be done at the same time as protecting the rights of the person sought.

The Law Commission has recommended that the court be given sole responsibility for deciding on nearly all of the grounds for refusal, with only a few grounds reserved for sole consideration by the Minister of Justice.

These recommendations won’t affect the Megaslow Dotcom case but if they are adopted they may speed cases up in the future.

It would help if the police didn’t cock things up in investigating and arresting people as well.

The Law Commission report: Modernising New Zealand’s Extradition and Mutual Assistance Laws