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Briefcase: Dotcom's secret ally and running battles at the ADLSi

You have to wonder about Kim Dotcom and his weird and wonderful world. His parallel universe has achieved cash like Croessus and a PR campaign that seems to be masterminded by some Spielbergian wunderkind. He's Father Christmas. He's Willie Wonka on Queen Street.

He endures a Ninja turtle raid on his home and then celebrates its anniversary as if it’s a Call of Duty win by launching a brand new business model with plans to scoop money out of Google’s trove, which is a bit like seeking to win the Tour de France using Lance Armstrong’s training team.

And finally he has a couple of near-death experiences with Sir Paul Holmes. Where, or how will this all end?

I have some doubts about the latest Mega incarnation, with its one-click encryption that could either crash and burn in the rocks of further litigation and me-too sites (several of which are better) or he will simply further inflame the US authorities and their entertainment industry who are wanting to deliver him a silver bullet to the head.

One thing is for certain, none of KDC's numerous adventures in this country could have been achieved without the unknowingly complicit work of the NZ Police. They're his secret ally and they don't know it. It's as if the whole fantasy has been put into the Hadron Collider in order to dissect and destroy the case against him.

It’s like David Bain and every other major case that appears to be screwed from day one and to a nuclear level by police ineptitude, or worse.

Rodney Hide’s column about Justice Binnie’s strident criticisms of the police in their handling of the Bain case, which followed a similar story on LawFuel, indicated there is much to worry about in the manner in which the police handle major criminal investigations and inquiries.

One major crime after another falls victim to police ineptitude, lack of procedure or far worse – outright deception. The Dotcom case has given rise to serious issues of police veracity and competence at every level.

Carruthers, please
It is here that new head of the Independent Police Complaints Authority (IPCA), Sir David Carruthers, could and should use his new role to great effect by holding the police up to the sun-bright disinfectant of publicity.

I have one major gripe about the police from personal experience, where a nasty and vicious little act saw a low level cop acting in a low level way, but I generally like cops.

Indeed, as I write this I have three former police officers, one of them from a former senior position, staying in my home as I lounge about in Tasman Bay.

Dame Margaret Bazley's excoriation of police culture in her report into their after the Louise Nicholas disgrace appears not to have altogether done the trick, although the issue is as much police professionalism than just police culture.

The police fought the Dame with a rare vigour. Pity they don't fight the same way to expose some of the ineptitude and yes, even the C word – “corruption” - that occurs when evidence is planted, rules are not followed and evidence is manufactured.

The Binnie report may have been rubbished by Justice Minister Collins but his comments regarding police actions (or inaction) make disturbing reading.

Sir David has already helped to expose more activity by the IPCA and he is on record as reporting that he wants less secrecy with its reports. Around 2000 complaints a year are made but only 17 have seen the light of publicity, which means you and I don't see them at all.

How can that be good? For the police or for us? The outrageous beating of Wellington youth Jakob Christie in 2009, when the police dragged their heels and bit their lips, is a disgrace.

The report into the beating, which broke Christie's neck, is a blatant cover up. More recently, the death of Timothy Parlane, who was hit by a train after the police interviewed him over a murder in March 2011, has resulted in an investigation that has not been published.

The IPCA needs to hold the police to account to avoid cover ups and incompetence and to help ensure the public receive the service they're entitled to. But will it?

Pinot, judge?
Did anyone see Justice O'Regan at the pinot noir conference in Wellington? No, nor me, partly because I wasn’t there. The conference was organised by the judge's brother-in-law, wine writer John Saker, and one would have expected a fair exchange of tickets to the event. But what would Justice Regan provide in exchange? Front row tickets to the next Bain appeal?

Running battles at ADLSi
The running battle between ADLSi chief executive Sue Keppel and former Law News editor Colin Taylor has all the hallmarks of last year’s running battle between Ms Keppel and the former convenor of the Documents and Precedents Committee council, Niamh McMahon.

Neither Ms McMahon nor Mr Taylor are shrinking violets and have articulated their views on the way in which the ADLSi is run with little uncertainty. In both cases Ms Keppel may have bitten off more than she can spit out.

Mr Taylor, a battle-hardened journalist who has put together the well regarded Law News since 1997, resigned after what he called a “sea change” at the society when Ms Keppel took over the ADLSi.

He complained about “inept” editorial interferences and having the publication run with agendas different to what the membership require. 

Ms Keppel responded to LawFuel  with a claim that Mr Taylor had refused to engage in a “consultation process.”

In turn, he vociferously disagrees in his “goodbye and good luck” letter, saying he never received a request from Ms Keppel for consultation, other than a letter he received on January 18 on returning from holiday and requesting a meeting for the day he had planned to leave.

He says independent surveys showed Law News to have been both respected and valued and he queries Ms Keppel’s claim to “improve” the magazine “by having it subjected to petty and arbitrary censorship based purely on her unqualified and unprofessional opinions…”

John Bowie is publisher of LawFuel

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Comments and questions

Loved the commentary on Dotcom and its historical relevance regarding policing in NZ, but I consider the rot set in further back when NZ started to embrace a liberalism that set our society's path to nowhere.
Martyn Finlay started the meddling by ridding useful laws well tested in courts over hundreds of years and allowing the start of a PC cuddle fest.
John Banks hammered a stake in the heart by saddling the police with traffic cops and the ultimate death was the politicising of the police hierarchy and infrastructure, which holds true today.
Lets not even talk about Geoffrey Palmer.
NZ is a crime-ridden, drug-addled haven and our little nation has neither the judicial bottle nor money to put the scroats away for periods of time they deserve. The traditional welcome to tourists of mugging and thieving is seen as a misdemeanour instead of treason to the country's economic wellbeing.
Until we have a back-to-basics police command without political interference and a salary scale to attract the brightest and fittest nothing will change until the Aussies take over.