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High Court decision: Kim Dotcom v The District Court

High Court decision Kim Dotcom v The District Court at North Shore


Introduction

[1] The United States of America (“USA”) applies to strike out seven causes of action in the statement of claim filed by Mr Dotcom in this proceeding. The USA asserts they are an abuse of process being both collateral attacks on previous decisions of the Courts and an attempt to pre-empt Mr Dotcom’s appeal from a decision of Gilbert J in this Court (“the High Court decision”).


Background

[2] On 5 January 2012, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia issued an arrest warrant for Mr Dotcom on charges contained in an indictment issued the same day (“the original indictment”):

(a) Count 1: Conspiracy to commit racketeering;
(b) Count 2: Conspiracy to commit copyright infringement;
(c) Count 3: Conspiracy to commit money laundering;
(d) Count 4: Criminal copyright infringement by distributing a work on a computer network, and aiding and abetting criminal copyright infringement; and
(e) Count 5: Criminal copyright infringement by electronic means, and aiding and abetting criminal copyright infringement.

[3] Mr Dotcom was resident in New Zealand at the time. On 20 January 2012, Mr Dotcom was at his home in the Mahoenui Valley when the Police arrived with search warrants and an arrest warrant. They searched Mr Dotcom’s home and seized, among other items, electronic devices such as computer hard drives and
memory sticks. They arrested Mr Dotcom.

[4] The search warrants and the arrest warrant were issued by the District Court following a legal process that began on 11 January 2012 with a formal request by the USA to the New Zealand Government for assistance for the purpose of extraditing Mr Dotcom to the USA to face criminal charges.2 On 16 February 2012, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia issued a superseding arrest warrant based on a superseding indictment which amended the five counts in the original indictment by adding a further eight counts.

[5] Ever since, Mr Dotcom has been opposing his extradition. A key issue for Mr Dotcom has been the validity of the search warrants…


...

[8] On 21 July 2017, Mr Dotcom opened a new front in his campaign to forestall his extradition by attacking the underpinnings of the extradition process. He commenced this proceeding and filed a statement of claim for judicial review. It contains eight causes of action…

...

Result

[92] I have granted the USA’s application to strike out causes of action 1 to 7 of the statement of claim for judicial review dated 21 July 2017. The proceeding is now “live” only in relation to the eighth cause of action. I direct that the proceeding be listed for mention in relation to the eighth cause of action in the duty list at 10:00 am on 7 February 2018.

full decision


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