Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Dotcom's Revenge


LawFuel.co.nz - New Zealand Legal News - The New Zealand government has exposed itself to what may be an unlimited indemnity in favour of Kim Dotcom, the man the US government is seeking to have extradicted on criminal copyright and related charges from New Zealand.The Megaupload boss had his business closed when New Zealand police raided his mansion in Auckland on 20 January.

Since then a string of victories achieved by the Dotcom legal team have revealed that the original restraining order upon which the police operated was "null and void".The New Zealand High Court, under an order from Justice Potter, required the government to provide an undertaking as to damages that is almost certainly unlimited.According to the National Business Review legal columnist and LawFuel publisher John Bowie the provision of the undertaking could result in the New Zealand taxpayer being on the wrong end of a damages claim running into hundreds of millions of dollars.

"Dotcom lawyers Willie Akel and Greg Towers at Simpson Grierson will not make public comment regarding the current issues, although they are very clear about their continued, vigorous defence of the current charges against their client," the NBR reported. "Kim Dotcom, as majority owner of Megaupload, is believed to have received over $US40 million in dividends from his company during the 2010 financial year. It’s precise value is therefore high, certainly in the hundreds of millions and maybe more.

"In chump change terms, Kim Dotcom’s liable for $6.5 million in respect of alterations to the mansion, should he be unable to complete purchase. The money would be forfeited to the current owners. But that figure is dwarfed by a potential claim for hundreds of millions of dollars under an indemnity that, so far as I am aware, is unlimited and probably unprecedented in its nature. "When Crown lawyer Madeleine Laracy acknowledged that Crown Law had “overlooked” the issue of giving Dotcom notice of the raid, Justice Potter required that the indemnity be given. The Crown became panicky. They either provided the required indemnity and undertaking to the Court or they gave everything back to Kim Dotcom.

The government were in the odious position of being between Dotcom’s rock and a fiscal hard place. Doubtless the issue arrived not only before Cabinet but also on the desk of Finance Minister Bill English who needed to find someone to put their hand up. The hand they found was Police Commissioner Peter Marshall’s. Apart from the Commissioner’s involvement in the matter there was the then Solicitor-General David Collins and in particular his deputy Cameron Mander.

"Cameron Mander, acting on delegated authority from Attorney General Chris Finlayson, was busy advising the US government, the FBI and everyone else stateside who want to get their hands on Mr Dotcom, about their legal rights and obligations in New Zealand. As one lawyer commented, the complex copyright issues upon which the extradition case depended should have seen Crown Law seek advice from a senior intellectual property lawyer, of whom there are several in New Zealand of international repute.

"Instead, Crown Law proceeded and eventually found their indemnity. The question of whether they also obtained a corresponding US government indemnity is open, but almost certainly they did not but rather acted in the spirit of mutual reciprocity and assistance, for which the US government has been so openly grateful. Establishing Crown liability for those carrying out law enforcement obligations is generally not achievable other than in cases of bad faith. Extensive immunities exist, as senior Auckland Law School lecturer and former Crown lawyer Hanna Wilberg told me. However, there is also the tort of “misfeasance in a public office” which requires malice to be proved and the NZ Bill of Rights, which provides for compensation in respect of an unlawful police search, although there are limits to that remedy, she said.
Read more at: http://www.lawfuel.co.nz/news/409/the-potential-revenge-of-kim-dotcom


--


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Why Sustainable NZ Isn’t Self-Sustaining

Asking whether this new, environmentally focussed party can make the 5% MMP threshold may be the wrong question...

Its more achievable goal would be to knock the Greens below the 5% threshold, while along the way reviving all the ancient stereotypes about the centre-left being implacably hostile to rural New Zealand. More>>

 

Report On Consultation: Future Of Tomorrow's Schools

“The 1989 Tomorrow’s Schools reform introduced one of world’s most devolved schooling systems where each school operates largely in isolation of each other... It empowered local communities and modernised an overly bureaucratic system but also led over time to uneven outcomes between schools.” More>>

ALSO:

Queensland Fires: NZ Firefighters Helping Battle Blazes

Twenty-one New Zealand firefighters are departing for Australia to help fight the wild fires that have been raging in Queensland for the past nine weeks. More>>

ALSO:

In NZ:

Discussion Doc: 'Firearm Prohibition Orders' Power For Police

“In practice this may mean a person subject to a FPO could not live in or visit a property where firearms are held, even if the firearm owner is licensed. They could not be in a vehicle which is carrying a firearm. They could not go hunting even under supervision..." More>>

ALSO:

Police: Armed Response Team In Low Level Arrest, 'Preventative' Patrols

Police later said the stop was entirely appropriate, and resulted in the man being arrested without incident for "breaching conditions". More>>

ALSO:

Children's Commissioner Comment: Damning Oranga Tamariki Review Of Uplift Case

“The practice review released by Oranga Tamariki today is rigorous and robust. However, it describes a litany of failure at every step. It is a damning indictment of inadequate social work practice. Many social workers will welcome the light being shone on this case." More>>

ALSO:

Environment Commissioner: ‘Huge’ Data Gaps Undermine Stewardship

Environment Commissioner Simon Upton says ‘huge’ gaps in data and knowledge undermine our stewardship of the environment and is calling for concerted action to improve the system. More>>

  • Image via Out-Link - Focusing Aotearoa New Zealand’s environmental reporting system
  • Science Media Centre - Measuring changes to our environment – Expert Reaction
  • Local Govt NZ - LGNZ backs call for better environmental reporting
  • Environmental Defence Society - EDS endorses Commissioner for the Environment’s report
  • Federated Farmers - Environment data gaps no basis for current policy swings
  •  
     
     
     
     

    LATEST HEADLINES

    • PARLIAMENT
    • POLITICS
    • REGIONAL
     
     

    InfoPages News Channels