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GCSB to be a defendant in Dotcom hearing

Published: 11:17AM Thursday December 06, 2012 Source: ONE News / Newstalk ZB

Internet millionaire Kim Dotcom has won another court victory today, following a High Court decision which has ruled the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) should be officially made a defendant in a case he is bringing.

Justice Helen Winkelmann has granted leave for the Megaupload founder, and three others, to seek declarations about the legality of the bureau's actions and to seek damages against the police and the GCSB.

The decision relates to a review of the police raid on Dotcom's mansion north of Auckland in January.

"The revelation that the police had access to intercepted communications gathered by the GCSB created difficulty in the conduct of this litigation," Justice Winkelmann said.

"This is material which is likely relevant, at least in part, to an assessment of the circumstances as the police understood them to be, when they planned the search of the Dotcom property. If so, it is material which should have been available for the remedies hearing," the judgment said.

In June, Dotcom won another court victory when Winkelmann found that the warrants used to seize his property were invalid.

In today's judgement, Winkelmann said that the material gathered by the GCSB is "likely relevant, at least in part, to an assessment of the circumstances as the Police understood them to be".

However, the GCSB claims that disclosure of those communications will prejudice New Zealand's national security interests as it will tend to reveal intelligence gathering and sharing methods.

The judgement also reveals that plaintiffs are also seeking further disclosure about:

- The time and place the GCSB first received the signed request for information from the New Zealand Police in relation to this matter.

- Confirmation of the existence of an information sharing agreement between Immigration New Zealand and the GCSB between 1 September 2011 and 1 September 2012 and if such an agreement was in place, a copy of that agreement.

- Any further documents held by the GCSB in relation to the residency status of Dotcom and Van der Kolk and their families.

- Confirmation as to whether the GCSB carried out any interception or surveillance of any kind on either Mona Dotcom or Bram van der Kolk's wife.

Dotcom is fighting extradition to the United States and will face a hearing next year. Authorities will argue he should be forced to face trial in the United States over charges his substantial wealth was obtained by widespread copyright infringement.

The German national, and his co-accused who ran the Megaupload site, deny the charges.

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