Supreme Court rules Kim Dotcom appeal can be heard

Published by Stuff.co.nz

Controversial internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom has won the right to appeal his extradition to the Supreme Court.

Dotcom is fighting to stay in New Zealand, after losing an appeal to be extradited to the United Sates where he faces criminal charges.

The decision, released by the Supreme Court on Thursday, ruled that the court had jurisdiction to hear Dotcom’s appeal.

Dotcom and three others are wanted in the United States to stand trial on criminal copyright infringement charges relating to file sharing via the Megaupload business.

It is alleged their business caused a loss to copyright holders of more than US$500 million.

Dotcom, along with Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk, and Finn Batato have been fighting extradition attempts since 2012.

After losing their case against extradition in the North Shore District Court, and then on appeal in the High Court, the four men had appealed to the Court of Appeal, and then to the Supreme Court.

At a hearing earlier this month, the United States’ lawyer David Boldt argued the Supreme Court did not have jurisdiction to hear the appeal, and that the men should be extradited.

Boldt told the five Supreme Court judges that when the case started in 2012 the law did not allow for what would be a third appeal against eligibility for extradition.

For Ortmann and van der Kolk, Grant Illingworth, QC, said the law changes did not have the effect the US said they did, and restricting the possibility for a Supreme Court appeal would be an unintended consequence. No material expressly supported the interpretation that Boldt argued for, he said.

Also, the Bill of Rights said that a person should not be involuntarily removed from New Zealand except by a lawful process, and that process should be clear, Illingworth said.

Lawyers for Dotcom and Batato supported Illingworth’s submissions and did not add anything orally.

The appeal is expected to be heard next year.

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