No Bail for Kim DotCom, Will Appeal

Update: You can read the 20 page bail decision in two parts, Part 1 and Part 2. The other three defendants had their bail hearing this afternoon. The judge will rule tomorrow.

The judge has denied bail for Kim Dotcom. The MegaUpload defendant will remain in custody until Feb. 22. That's the day an extradition hearing is expected to be held.

According to the New Zealand Herald, although everyone was assembled in court, the Judge did not release his reasons, just his decision. I guess there will be a separate written ruling released later.

Update: The ruling has been released and Kim DotCom will appeal. [More...]

[Judge] McNaughton said the risk of Dotcom fleeing the country, even if he was required to report to police regularly, have his computers confiscated and have his movements monitored electronically, was too great.

While those conditions would restrict the applicants movements and inhibit his ability to plan any escape, with sufficient determination and financial resources flight risk remains a real and significant possibility which I cannot discount, he said in his judgement.

Either side can appeal the bail decision to New Zealand's High Court.

DotCom had asked to be released on electronic home monitoring. In New Zealand, the police process applications and make a recommendation to the Court. The police website says only 25% of applications are granted which contributes to the lower number of violators than in other countries.

Here's what happened at the bail hearing on Monday at which the Judge reserved ruling.

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    Maybe there's a lesson in this. (none / 0) (#1)
    by EL seattle on Tue Jan 24, 2012 at 10:11:48 PM EST
    Like, um, if you think you might sometime be in a position where you'd benefit from a judge extending you something like the "benefit of a doubt", it might not be a great idea to have auto license plates that say things like "MAFIA", "HACKER", and "GUILTY".

    that didn't even come up (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jan 24, 2012 at 10:30:28 PM EST
    The Judge, to his credit, didn't consider any of the media hype.

    I'd certainly hope not. (none / 0) (#3)
    by EL seattle on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 07:04:15 AM EST
    Just as I would hope that the judge/court wouldn't be affected by fear of posssible web attack or hacking by Megaupload supporters if the decision didn't favor "their side".  (But I also hope that as soon as this case came up, someone in the NZ court offices automatically started to prepare for the possibility that they could be targeted for hacking or web attack by persons unknown.  Welcome to 2012.)  

    I'd assume that the whole pregnant wife thing would fall into this same category, too.  But that didn't stop Dotcom's lawyer from using that to maybe generate some sympathy on behalf of his client.

    He said Dotcom had planned to go to Hong Kong yesterday with his wife, Mona, who is due to give birth in April. She wanted to have the babies in Hong Kong with a doctor she trusted. He said that plan was ruined when police "assaulted" Dotcom Mansion on Friday.


    I think that worked (none / 0) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jan 25, 2012 at 09:53:05 AM EST
    in his favor, it just wasn't enough.

    [85] Similarly I place no weight on the proposed trip to Hong Kong for medical reasons relating to the pregnancy or the retention of an apartment there.


    [52] Mr Dotcom was granted permanent residency in December 2009. He and his family have lived here more or less continuously since September 2011. There are three children under five and the applicant's wife is also the legal guardian of her younger brothers aged 14 and 11. The applicant accepts that he maintains an apartment in Hong Kong although the lease is shortly to expire. He leases the large property at Coatsville and has an option to purchase. He employs a total of about 50 staff, it is his intention to reside here permanently and to raise his family here and his wife's brothers are enrolled at a local school.

    I am mindful of the impact of custodial remand on the applicant's family, particularly his pregnant wife and the many staff he employs.

    The applicant and his associates have been operating in plain sight for some years. Prosecution for breach of copyright must have been an ever present possibility and if that is the applicant's view of the matter I can accept that there is absolutely no incentive to leave New Zealand pending hearing of the extradition.