New Zealand Court Releases $4.83 Million To Kim Dotcom
from the another-loss-for-the-doj dept
The US government keeps having setback after setback after setback in its legal fight against Kim Dotcom and Megaupload. If the US had its way, all of Dotcom’s assets would have been frozen, he would be stuck in jail with no opportunity to be bailed out, and New Zealand would have already rubber stamped extradition papers. But none of that has happened.
The latest is that, against the wishes of the US and the New Zealand governments, the court has granted Dotcom the use of $4.83 million out of the assets that were frozen in order to pay some of his legal expenses (though, not for his US lawyer, Ira Rothken). The order also says that the released funds cannot be used for Dotcom’s co-defendants. The ruling, embedded below, is pretty thorough and suggests (yet again) that the US-driven prosecution of Dotcom is mostly focused on trying to railroad him, rather than allow him to mount an adequate defense. He may very well be guilty, but it’s pretty shameful that the steps taken by the US and New Zealand governments seem designed to not even give him a chance to properly defend himself. At least the New Zealand court has recognized that’s not right, and will allow him access to some funds, with specific limits, so that he can put together his defense.
Mr Dotcom’s rights under the NZBORA and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights further tip the balance in his favour. The State’s contingent interest in the restrained property is of punitive nature and limited to depriving Mr Dotcom of the fruits of his alleged offending. In contrast, Mr Dotcom’s access to counsel is supported by his rights to natural justice, to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and to consult and instruct a lawyer and to have adequate time and facilities to prepare a defence. It is generally assumed that the right to access defence counsel includes the right to counsel of the defendant’s choice….