Dotcom's request 'designed to frustrate' - Crown

Kim and Liz Dotcom. Photo: Supplied
Kim and Liz Dotcom. Photo: Supplied
Kim Dotcom's "vexatious" battle to gain access to all the information the government holds on him has reached the High Court.

The internet mogul made a request in 2015 under the Privacy Act for "every record mentioning him by name held by every government agency and every then-government minister, plus each agency contracted to work with any of those entities", said lawyer for the Attorney-General, Victoria Casey.

Dotcom claimed the total of 52 requests should be dealt with under urgency because the information was necessary for his upcoming extradition eligibility hearing.

This was despite the fact the date for him to file evidence in that hearing had already passed by the time he made the request, Casey said.

Most of the requests were transferred to the Attorney-General, and were declined on the basis they were vexatious and included trivial information.

Dotcom filed a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner, which was rejected.

"It was legitimate for the Crown to centralise a suite of difficult requests," Casey said.

The commissioner also said the overall volume and extent of the requests indicated they were designed to "frustrate or vex the respondents", she said.

Dotcom then complained to the Human Rights Review Tribunal, which, after a 10-day hearing, found it was wrong for the Crown to transfer the requests to the Attorney-General and to refuse the requests.

It awarded Dotcom $90,000 damages, $60,000 for injury to feelings, and $30,000 for loss of a benefit - that being the information that he sought. The Tribunal ordered all the agencies to comply with the original requests.

The three-year fight over the documents has now come to the High Court at Wellington, where Casey is today appealing the Tribunal's decision on behalf of the Attorney-General.

She told the court the transfer of the requests was "orthodox and sensible", and that the Tribunal had taken the wrong approach to deciding whether the requests were vexatious.

There was also "no evidential basis" for the $30,000 award for loss of a benefit, because Dotcom could have reapplied for the information under another part of the Privacy Act.

Casey also challenged the $60,000 award for injury to feelings, saying the requests were taken seriously and dealt with respectfully.

The appeal hearing is set down for four days.

Dotcom has a number of matters going through the courts, including his battle against extradition.

The Court of Appeal upheld a decision in July that Dotcom could be extradited to the United States to face criminal copyright charges.

The Queenstown-based millionaire has vowed to appeal that decision in the Supreme Court.

A US grand jury indicted Dotcom, along with Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk, and Finn Batato, in 2012, over the now-defunct file-sharing website Megaupload, which allegedly shared pirated films and other media.

It has been called the "Mega conspiracy" after several companies allegedly facilitated, encouraged and profited from significant mass infringement of copyright.

This year, Dotcom also tried and failed to have former US President Barack Obama served with a subpoena and forced to give evidence in a New Zealand court over a damages claim for the streaming website.

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