Appeal court gives lawyers chance to negotiate return of Dotcom's information

Kim Dotcom, Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk

The Crown and Kim Dotcom continued their tussle over the internet tycoon's seized electronic information in the Court of Appeal today, which adjourned the hearing to let the lawyers try and reach an agreement for the return of the files.

The hearing in Wellington was the latest in a series of legal challenges to head off the US Federal Government’s bid to extradite Dotcom and his co-accused Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk to face charges of conspiracy to operate websites used to illegally distribute copyrighted content.

Dotcom and his co-accused are seeking the return of some of the cloned information from devices seized in 2012 and 2013, which his lawyer Paul Davison QC said defied natural justice if access continued to be denied ahead of next February's extradition hearing.

Crown counsel David Boldt told the court the only reason for the delayed return was because encryption codes hadn't been provided to the police as they had previously agreed. Because Ortmann and van der Kolk had provided passwords, they had received clones of their information, he said.

In response to questioning, Boldt said the Attorney, via the Deputy Solicitor General, wants to make a direction under the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 1992 to transmit the original devices in the 2013 bundle to the US and provide clones to the accused once certain conditions have been met, and provided the court with principles the Attorney would adhere to when making a decision.

Justices Ellen France, Tony Randerson and Douglas White adjourned the hearing to let counsel try and negotiate an acceptable direction for the devices.


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