Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Dotcom bail decision

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has been denied bail. The NBR has the full decision (in four parts) here. Reading through it, it basically came down to perceived flight risk: the US talked this up, the police told the judge horror stories of people absconding, and how they could abscond if they set their mind to it, and the latter especially seems to have been decisive. Troublingly, that evidence was heard in closed court, and the affidavit returned to the prosecutor to prevent it from being accessed from the court file, so the core evidence here is effectively secret. While able to be contested by the defence, we are not allowed to view it and decide whether it stacks up (and hence whether the judge's decision was correct, or whether he was misled). Also troublingly, all conditions (including 24 hour curfew, electronic monitoring, and a ban on using or communicating by computer, internet, or even telephone - basically an electronic death sentence) were refused. So much for the BORA requirement that those charged

shall be released on reasonable terms and conditions unless there is just cause for continued detention.
So, we're going to lock a guy in jail for a month or two, in the process undermining his defence in a serious criminal case, on the basis of secret evidence which may be no more than a police fantasy. Which is beginning to sound like Ahmed Zaoui territory again.

There is ample grounds for appeal here, and I expect Dotcom will take it.