Megaupload wins evidence disclosure tussle in US extradition case

Defendants have the right to properly prepare defence, rules NZ judge

Lawyers representing Kim Dotcom and Megaupload in the ongoing extradition case in New Zealand have won the right to see the prosecution's evidence before the trial begins in order to properly prepare a defence.

The US attorney's office protested the judgement, but was over-ruled by the New Zealand judge presiding over the case. The prosecution now has 21 days to submit its evidence, reports TorrentFreak.

Judge David Harvey, presiding, argued that the extradition process must be a judicial, not an administrative, process.

"In my view there must be fairness and the hearing and balance must be struck, otherwise the record of case becomes dominant virtually to the exclusion of everything else and places the extradition process in danger of becoming an administrative one rather than judicial," reads his judgement.

"There is a complex factual matrix and justiciable issues are complicated by the fact that the United States is attempting to utilize concepts from the civil copyright context as a basis for the application of criminal copyright liability which necessitates a consideration of principles such as the dual use of technology or what they described as significant non-infringing use."

The extradition is the first stage in the US government's case against Megaupload, which stands accused of facilitating copyright theft, racketeering and money laundering. The business has been closed down and assets seized.

Defence lawyers have also been contesting that asset seizure, claiming that, even if the allegations are true, some of the $67 million already seized by the US Government has been made legally. In addition, defence lawyers have filed a claim that the entire case be dismissed, as the closure of the business at the point of charging have rendered it un-reclaimable.

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