Kim Dotcom’s Extradition Hearing Delayed Until 2013

Kim Dotcom's extradition hearing has been delayed until 2013. The Megaupload founder and his alleged co-conspirators were due to appear in court on August 6 in a hearing scheduled to last 3 weeks, but legal issues including questions over evidence disclosure have put the event back until March next year. Dotcom has slammed the delay as "dirty delay tactics by the US."

Kim Dotcom, the founder of Megaupload, the now-defunct site at the center of what is believed to be the largest copyright infringement case in United States history, will have to wait until next year for his extradition hearing.

The hearing, which would see Dotcom and alleged co-conspirators Mathias Ortmann, Finn Batato and Bram van der Kolk protest their extradition to the United States, was originally scheduled to take place next month in Auckland.

Following agreement between Dotcom’s lawyer Paul Davison QC and the prosecution, it has now been rescheduled for July 2013.

“It was inevitable that the hearing for August was going to be vacated because we have two existing cases in the High Court,” William Akel, one of Dotcom’s lawyers, told Reuters.

Dotcom, however, took to Twitter to voice his complaints.

“Dirty delay tactics by the US. They destroyed my business. Took all my assets. Time does the rest,” he wrote.

“The NZ government is refusing an NZ resident due process and a fair defense. Shame on you [Prime Minister of New Zealand] John Key for allowing this to happen. Shame on you.”

In recent weeks, legal arguments on a number of issues have further complicated the already controversial case, including an appeal of a court ruling last month that found the warrants used by New Zealand police to raid Dotcom’s Coatesville mansion in January were invalid, rendering the searches illegal.

Earlier, a judge criticized the shipping to the U.S. of hard drive copies taken from Dotcom’s computers by the FBI, describing the act as “unlawful”.

Last week, local prosecutors acting on behalf of the U.S. government argued in the High Court against an earlier District Court ruling that said Dotcom and the rest of the so-called “Mega Conspiracy” should be allowed access to the evidence set to be used against them in the extradition hearing.

Prosecutors said there was no need for Dotcom, Mathias Ortmann, Finn Batato and Bram van der Kolk to see the evidence because they are not being tried in New Zealand. Their lawyers disagree, stating that it is crucial the information is examined in order for their clients to mount a fair defense.

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