Judge steps down from the Megaupload case

/ 5 years ago

Judge David Harvey was the judge for the Megaupload and Kim Dotcom extradition case. Recently, the judge has made the decision to step down from the case over a comment he made which was deemed to violate his supposed required neutrality to the case.

The comment occurred at the NetHui internet conference on July 12th in Auckland where participants were discussing the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, essentially another form of ACTA for the U.S.A and another dozen countries.

Judge Harvey commented that currently citizens of New Zealand can “region hack” DVDs legally so that they are watchable on New Zealand region DVD players. However, he pointed out if the Trans-Pacific Partnership was to come into place then doing that some act would then criminalise thousands of consumers and leave them vulnerable to legal proceedings.

“Under TPP and the American [DMCA] you will not be able to do that, that will be prohibited,” he said. “If you do, you will be a criminal, that’s what will happen. There are all sorts of ways this whole thing is being ramped up and if I could use Russell’s tweet from earlier on: we have met the enemy and he is US.”

Judge Harvey was making a play on words from the quote “we have met the enemy and he is us,”a spin off of the original message sent by Commodore Perry in 1813 after the Battle of Lake Erie, saying “we have met the enemy and he is ours.”

What he said was almost ignored until nearly 3 days later when a professor pointed out that the comment leaves Judge Harvey in a non-neutral position, and when the media picked up on this, his position quickly became compromised.

This could be very unfortunate for Kim Dotcom and Mega Upload as Judge Harvey seemed to rule in favour of them in most instances. A new judge will be appointed for the extradition hearing that is to take place in March 2013. According to Jan-Marie Doogue, the chief district court judge of New Zealand

“[he recognized] that remarks made in the context of a paper he delivered on copyright law at a recent conference could reflect on his impartiality and that the appropriate response is for him to step down from the case.”


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