Kim Dotcom will be waiting until nearly the end of 2014 to find out whether American courts will get their hands on him: an extradition hearing due in April 2014 has been delayed, with a new date yet to be set.
That's led the Megaupload founder to accuse the New Zealand government of interfering in the judicial process, to delay the hearings until after the country's election, due in either October or November.
The extradition hearing had already been delayed from November 2013. Fairfax NZ reports that Dotcom believes the delay “will save Prime Minister John Key embarrassment during an election campaign”.
Another thing likely to save John Key electoral embarrassment is the performance of Kim Dotcom's Internet Party. He has recently stated that the party will withdraw from this year's election if it doesn't look like achieving the vote needed to enter parliament.
In the country's MMP (mixed-member proportional) system, new parties have to achieve five per cent of the vote to hold a seat, something which pundits in the Land of the Long White Cloud view as unlikely. Dotcom says he'll make the go/no-go decision before ballot papers are printed, a movable feast at the moment, since the election date hasn't been announced. That represents a backdown: the rotund one has in recent weeks tweeted the results of polls suggesting one in five Kiwi voters would consider a vote for the party.
Last week, a New Zealand appeals court decided that while the FBI raid that kicked off the Dotcom case in 2012 was legal, the Feds stepped outside the law by sending cloned copies of his hard drives back to the US. That should only have been done if New Zealand's solicitor-general gave permission, which did not happen.
Dotcom is seeking the return of the copied data to New Zealand as part of his defence, and last week's decision will probably be appealed in the Supreme Court. ®