Following his arrest in January, Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom was immediately deprived of his freedom.
On February 22nd, just over a month later, he was released on bail but heavy restrictions meant that life would not be getting back to normal.
In addition to general limits placed on his movements and activities, Dotcom – someone who lives and breathes the Internet – was banned from going online or even having a cellphone with Internet capability.
Today, Dotcom and his three New Zealand-based co-defendants – Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato – appeared in the North Shore District Court with requests to have their bail conditions modified.
Dotcom’s legal team told the Court that the 38-year-old needed Internet access reinstated so that he can properly mount his defense. Along with his co-accused, Dotcom faces charges in the United States of racketeering, money-laundering and various copyright infringement offenses.
To assist with a back complaint, Dotcom also sought permission to use a swimming pool at the mansion where he and his family were living at the time of the raid. They currently live nearby.
Dotcom’s fortune was seized by authorities so the former multi-millionaire is now looking to generate revenue wherever he can, as is his human right. To that end Dotcom, who has been honing his skills as a musician for some time, requested permission to finish an album he has been working on.
The prosecution naturally objected to Dotcom continuing his work and said that his album, a collaboration with several international artists, was unlikely to succeed. TorrentFreak was given a sneak preview of the upcoming release late last year and we liked what we heard.
Despite the complaints, Judge David Harvey said that Dotcom and his associates had behaved commendably whilst on bail. He subsequently granted Dotcom access to the Internet, 90 minutes access to the swimming pool and two trips each week to Roundhead Studios in Auckland to finish his album.
The Judge also granted Batato, Ortmann and Van der Kolk permission to travel to Dotcom’s home once a week for a maximum of six hours so that they can work on their defense.
An extradition hearing is planned for August this year and in the meantime Dotcom is staying strong in the belief that he can successfully defend the US charges against him.