Sssh! Dotcom’s Use of Twitter Problematic, Court Told

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Days after the Supreme Court denied Kim Dotcom access to evidence held by the FBI, the Megaupload founder's legal team were back in court seeking other documents in connection with a compensation claim. During the hearing, however, a Crown lawyer took the opportunity to complain about Dotcom's use of Twitter.

dotcom-laptopLast week the Supreme Court handed a significant blow to Kim Dotcom and his associates with a ruling confirming they would not be entitled to receive any more than a summary of the claims in the extradition case against them.

Just days later and the Megaupload and Mega.co.nz founder’s legal team were back in court in connection with their huge compensation claim against the New Zealand police and the government’s GCSB spy agency following the raid on Dotcom’s Coatville mansion in 2012.

The claim, for breaches of the Bill of Rights Act and the Government Communications and Security Bureau Act, spans not only Kim Dotcom but also his wife Mona, three of his Megaupload associates, plus one of their wives.

On the basis that the surveillance leading up to the raid was carried out illegally, and that the raid itself was executed by the police using excessive force, the claim for compensation has reached around NZ$5m (US$4.27m)

In the High Court in Auckland this morning, Dotcom lawyer Paul Davison said that he believed that additional documents being held by the government should be revealed as part of the discovery process. Should such documents exist, Davison said, then he would ask that Justice Winkelmann orders their disclosure.

However, Crown lawyer David Boldt said there was nothing left to hand over.

“The defendants at least have discovered thousands of documents in this proceeding and have been extraordinarily diligent in scouring records for relevant material,” Boldt said.

“What I can say is, if that material existed, it would have been discovered, and we’ve sworn affidavits to the effect that this is all there is.”

The Crown also took the opportunity to attack Dotcom’s use of Twitter, a service used by the Megaupload founder to give his followers a window into his private life.

Dotcom posts tweets several times every day, sometimes giving his 350,000 followers updates on his family but on other occasions referring to his ongoing legal battles with both the United States and New Zealand governments. That has included the posting documents connected to his case

Crown lawyer Kristy McDonald said that through his actions on Twitter, Dotcom had demonstrated “considerable disregard” for court processes and suggested that any documents obtained by Dotcom might end up getting published on the social networking platform.

“Is this about obtaining documents so they can be put out in the public arena?” McDonald questioned. The notion was dismissed by Dotcom’s lawyer.

This is the second attack on Dotcom’s use of Twitter. In December 2013, the U.S. Government claimed that the entrepreneur’s use of the social networking site made his defense less credible.

Dotcom’s legal team, however, suggested that government attempts “to widely disseminate a one-sided, cherry-picked set of facts” threatened to “infect the jury pool before defendants are afforded any opportunity to present their side of the story.”

In the meantime, Dotcom’s tweets continue. Although not mentioning anyone by name, Dotcom today criticized former security staff for “leaking family secrets” and demanding large sums of money. He said that rumors suggesting he treats his staff badly are untrue.

Dotcom Tweets

The compensation hearings, which will continue in the High Court tomorrow, will see Dotcom’s lawyers argue that the manner in which the 2012 raid was carried out breached his human rights. Earlier this year the Court of Appeal decided that the warrants used in the raid were not in themselves unlawful. Dotcom’s appeal to the Supreme Court in that matter is pending.

Update: Crown lawyers will now seek an order to stop Dotcom from commenting in public about the ongoing court cases he’s involved in.

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