Dotcom 'procedural mess' grows

Last updated 11:57 15/02/2013
Kim Dotcom
LAWRENCE SMITH/Fairfax NZ
iSPY: Internet mogul Kim Dotcom at the launch of his new Mega website in January.

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The Crown wants to give Kim Dotcom money but he is holding out for more information about the Government Communications Security Bureau's spying operation against him.

"I'd be delighted to sit down and resolve the sum of money," Crown lawyer David Boldt offered in the Court of Appeal at Wellington yesterday.

The German-born internet mogul was not in court to hear the offer.

However, his lawyer, William Akel, said Dotcom was entitled to know what the bureau had done and what it had found out before agreeing to a damages award for the bureau having illegally intercepted communications.

The information is considered so secret that while the issue is being decided plans are afoot for an independent Queen's Counsel with highest level security clearance and a High Court judge to keep their copies in safes in their offices.

Unless the procedure is toppled by the appeal heard yesterday, the QC will look at the information on behalf of the Dotcom parties and argue for the release of what information he thinks is relevant to the claim they are trying to advance.

Mr Akel admitted he "bristled" at suggestions from Court of Appeal president Justice Mark O'Regan that continuing with the attempt to "discover" the bureau documents was a delaying tactic.

The damages claim follows a High Court finding that police made an illegal search and seizure at Dotcom's mansion just over a year ago. \The raid was to help the United States Government's attempt to extradite Dotcom and three business associates to face criminal charges for copyright piracy stemming from the Dotcom Megaupload data storage site.

The Crown wants to appeal against the finding that aspects of the raid were illegal but in the meantime Dotcom and his associates have filed proceedings asking for damages from police and the bureau.

The Crown has already conceded the bureau acted illegally. It says Dotcom should get only a modest amount and the information he wants would be irrelevant to deciding the amount.

It says the damages claims against the bureau and the police should not be part of the central case about extradition and the search and seizure legality.

It has appealed against a decision that the bureau's damages claim can join the police damages claim to run alongside the search and seizure case.

One of the three judges hearing yesterday's appeal said the case had grown "like topsy" and was an "utter procedural mess".

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The Court of Appeal reserved its decision on the Crown's appeal against the bureau damages claim remaining part of the main case, and the order that Dotcom's application for "discovery" of the bureau's documents could proceed.

- The Dominion Post

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