Senior lawyer appointed to Dotcom case

By Edward Gay

Auckland lawyer Stuart Grieve. File photo / Brett Phibbs
Auckland lawyer Stuart Grieve. File photo / Brett Phibbs

Senior lawyer Stuart Grieve QC has been given security clearance and appointed to the Kim Dotcom case.

Internet mogul Dotcom's case was listed at the High Court at Auckland today for a telephone conference with Chief High Court Judge, Justice Helen Winkelmann.

The subject of the conversation is not known, but Mr Grieve confirmed to APNZ this afternoon he had been given security clearance.

He said his role was yet to be clarified by the court.

The highly respected barrister, with more than 50 years experience, would not comment further on his role.

Dotcom's lawyers have previously asked the court for an independent lawyer to be appointed to look at top secret spy documents gathered by the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) and decide whether they should be released.

The Crown has agreed that an independent lawyer should be appointed but want the spy agency's sources and channels protected.

It was revealed last month that the GCSB was spying on Dotcom unlawfully after being told by police that he and his associates were foreign nationals.

Police gave the assurance all four were foreign nationals, despite Dotcom and his Dutch co-accused Bram Van Der Kolk being permanent residents of New Zealand.

The GCSB is forbidden by law to spy on New Zealand citizens or permanent residents.

The move to appoint Mr Grieve is similar to that adopted in the case of Algerian refugee Ahmed Zaoui where he was appointed special advocate to review information from the Security Intelligence Service (SIS).

The case dragged on for five years and eventually resulted in the SIS withdrawing a security risk certificate against Mr Zaoui.

Dotcom, van der Kolk, Finn Batato and Mathias Ortmann are accused of being behind the world's biggest criminal copyright violation through the file-sharing website Megaupload, which carried about 4 per cent of the world's internet traffic. The men deny the charges.

- APNZ

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