AG law-breaking big news

LETTER

As much as I find news of a breakfast between two people in a large and popular restaurant interesting, its wide coverage seems to be at the cost of another very important story.

I read on the Newshub website last week that the Human Rights Review Tribunal made a very significant ruling about govt departmental failings and that the Attorney General, then Chris Finlayson, unlawfully withheld information from Kim Dotcom in response to his Privacy Act requests. The HRRT also ruled that the departments should not have sent the requests to the AG. Dotcom was awarded damages of $90,000 as a result of the AG declining to provide him the information.

This story is significant because the Attorney General is the person who should be enforcing and upholding the law for all New Zealanders. Yet our former AG instead broke the law. When Dotcom requested govt departments to provide whatever personal information they had about him under urgency, all the requests were sent to Mr Finlayson. He then declined the requests as vexatious and trivial, and notified that there were insufficient reasons for urgency.

Dotcom was accused of copyright breaches in the USA related to his cloud storage business, and his home in New Zealand was raided at the behest of the FBI. Yet he did not commit a crime in NZ and has never lived in the USA. However, he was thrown in jail and his assets were taken from him, with hard drives sent to the USA so they could prepare an extradition case for copyright fraud. This, by the way, wasn’t an extraditable offence so it was changed to racketeering instead.

The govt took away his financial means to be able to defend himself and he had to go to court to have funds released. He has been to court several times.

Whether you like Dotcom or not is irrelevant as everyone deserves a fair hearing and to be treated fairly and reasonably. This has not happened and the saga has taken years and many millions of taxpayer dollars to prove something. I hope this saga ends soon, because it isn’t productive to continue to throw NZ taxpayer funds at what appears to be a losing battle.

Mary-Ann de Kort

As much as I find news of a breakfast between two people in a large and popular restaurant interesting, its wide coverage seems to be at the cost of another very important story.

I read on the Newshub website last week that the Human Rights Review Tribunal made a very significant ruling about govt departmental failings and that the Attorney General, then Chris Finlayson, unlawfully withheld information from Kim Dotcom in response to his Privacy Act requests. The HRRT also ruled that the departments should not have sent the requests to the AG. Dotcom was awarded damages of $90,000 as a result of the AG declining to provide him the information.

This story is significant because the Attorney General is the person who should be enforcing and upholding the law for all New Zealanders. Yet our former AG instead broke the law. When Dotcom requested govt departments to provide whatever personal information they had about him under urgency, all the requests were sent to Mr Finlayson. He then declined the requests as vexatious and trivial, and notified that there were insufficient reasons for urgency.

Dotcom was accused of copyright breaches in the USA related to his cloud storage business, and his home in New Zealand was raided at the behest of the FBI. Yet he did not commit a crime in NZ and has never lived in the USA. However, he was thrown in jail and his assets were taken from him, with hard drives sent to the USA so they could prepare an extradition case for copyright fraud. This, by the way, wasn’t an extraditable offence so it was changed to racketeering instead.

The govt took away his financial means to be able to defend himself and he had to go to court to have funds released. He has been to court several times.

Whether you like Dotcom or not is irrelevant as everyone deserves a fair hearing and to be treated fairly and reasonably. This has not happened and the saga has taken years and many millions of taxpayer dollars to prove something. I hope this saga ends soon, because it isn’t productive to continue to throw NZ taxpayer funds at what appears to be a losing battle.

Mary-Ann de Kort

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Bruce Pollock, Christchurch - 5 months ago
Completely agree Mary-Ann. It's not about the man in question, it's about our laws and how everybody is accountable to those laws. To suddenly drop our long-held New Zealand principles of "innocent until proven guilty", the John Key-led government decided to act with complete indifference to our long-held beliefs. The AG should be held to account for this. Simply outrageous behaviour.

Graham Adams, Auckland - 5 months ago
Unfortunately, the award of $90,000 in damages was just another dismal chapter in the long extradition saga that has repeatedly shown the government and its agents to have acted illegally. The public has taken little interest in the legal manoeuvrings so far but it certainly will when Dotcom's claim for $6.8 billion in compensation from the Crown for the summary closure of Megaupload is heard.

The claim, filed in the Auckland High Court in January, weighs in at nearly 3.5 percent of GDP and at some point the public will be forced to consider exactly who in the former National-led administration put so much taxpayers' money at risk for the dubious purpose of helping Hollywood neutralise Dotcom.

Steve Withers, Opotiki - 5 months ago
Agreed. What happened to Kim Dotcom was appalling. Whether you like the guy or not, the previous government clearly broke the law over and over in its efforts to pander to America. We still don't know who the other 88 Kiwis are who were illegally spied on. As usual, when they got caught breaking the law .... They changed the law. Like they did when the SIS was caught illegally breaking into an activist's house in Christchurch when Jenny Shipley was PM. That's why we can't look up reg plates any more. That's how they SIS was caught.

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