An angry Kim Dotcom has labelled the Prime Minister a "spin
master" after discovering potential evidence in the upcoming
$6 million damages hearing has been deleted.
Dotcom told the Herald that Crown lawyers admitted the
information had been deleted by the Government Communications
Security Bureau - winning fresh calls for an inquiry into the
agency by Labour and and the Greens.
The tycoon, who faces extradition to the United States on
copyright charges, pointing to an assurance by John Key on
the GCSB last year. At the time, the Prime Minister told
Parliament: "This is a spy agency. We don't delete things. We
Dotcom said yesterday: "He told the New Zealand public in
Parliament that the GCSB doesn't delete things. He said it
Dotcom said the GCSB's lawyers told him information sought as
part of the court process ahead of the damages hearing had
been "aged off" its systems. The term means the information
had been deleted.
Dotcom quoted Crown lawyers as saying "some communications
have automatically aged off. We propose to include ... those
communications which are still recoverable".
He said: "Look at Key's wobbly spin of the facts, trying to
explain this away as yet another misunderstanding. This
Government has serially broken the law in my case and now
they did it again.
Dotcom, who is becoming politically active through his
Internet Party, said: "I hope the public can see that and
will kick him out of government at the next election. Send
him back to his buddies in America, where government law
breaking and overreach has become the normality."
He said an independent inquiry into the case would see Mr Key
and others "in court over the injustice they have done to me
and my family".
Mr Key said the information was "raw intelligence" which was
required by law to be deleted.
"Essentially, legal documents that are created by GCSB are
held in their system and archived forever. Raw intelligence
has to actually, by law, age off the system if it's no longer
relevant or required."
He also rejected any links between the deletion of the
material and his comments to Parliament about archiving
material. He was responding to claims the GCSB had deleted a
video recording which was politically damaging, which he said
Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said information sought
as part of a court process is meant to be preserved - and
doing otherwise was "basic contempt of court".
"If it is true, then they are a rogue agency operating in
contempt of the law and courts."
He said Mr Key was attempting to distance himself from his
statement in Parliament, saying the comments were made "in
the most general terms". "He has misled the House."
He said an independent inquiry into the GCSB would be part of
an coalition negotiations after the election.
Labour associate spokesman on security issues Grant Robertson
said he was concerned about the implications of Dotcom's
"If true, it speaks of an agency that has operated where they
don't believe they need to pay attention to the law." He said
people would ask why they should "trust an agency like this
if it's not going to comply with the law".
He said Mr Key needed to "come clean" about what he knew
about the deleted information.
The inquiry into the GCSB by former Cabinet secretary Rebecca
Kitteridge, the incoming Security Intelligence Service boss,
referred to material being "aged off" its systems.
The process was referred to when detailing how the GCSB dealt
with failure to follow its own law or rules. She wrote "the
information concerning the target will be deleted within GCSB
if it has not already 'aged off' the system".
The $6m damages hearing taken by Kim Dotcom could be put off
at least six months, says a senior barrister.
He said the trial set down for up to five weeks would
struggle to fit in the High Court calender and might need to
be scheduled up to nine months away.
But he also said it would not delay the extradition hearing -
and would not even need Dotcom present.
"The damages claim can be heard at any time and doesn't even
require Dotcom's presence."
The extradition hearing is currently planned for July in the
district court. It waits on a Supreme Court ruling on the
issue of discovery, in which opposing parties declare the
evidence each holds to the other. The judgment from the court
was expected back before Christmas and the delays into
February have stoked speculation.
The appeal to the ultimate court came after a district court
ruling which expanded the scope of access Dotcom had to
evidence against him, including that held by the FBI.