The Court of Appeal has ordered the Attorney-General to issue new directions to the New Zealand police in order to send cloned devices seized from internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom to US authorities, although it's likely to be opposed by the internet entrepreneur.
In a decision released today, Justices Douglas White, Tony Randerson and Lynton Stevens set aside earlier High Court rulings, essentially allowing the Attorney-General to issue new directives to police under the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, enabling the remaining seized devices be sent to the US.
Dotcom and his co-accused Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk can then challenge the move in a new judicial review in the High Court if they wish.
The Attorney-General sought to quash restrictions around sending the seized devices to the US, including compelling police to disclose passwords to encrypted material, after a Supreme Court ruling in December found search warrants executed in the high profile 2012 raid on Dotcom were valid.
Dotcom and his co-accused tried to have the warrants ruled invalid as they attempt to head off the US Federal government's bid to extradite them to the US, where they face charges of conspiracy to operate websites used to illegally distribute copyrighted material.
They are currently separately appealing the date of their extradition hearing, which is set down for September.
There was no opposition to the 2013 clones of computers and other devices being sent to the US provided they were stripped of personal and irrelevant material before leaving New Zealand shores.
The Crown opposed this, saying it wasn't practical for New Zealand authorities to do so, and under the mutual assistance legislation it can't recover costs from the US if it did so.
Earlier material sent to the US, known as the 2012 clones, is inaccessible to US authorities as New Zealand police are not allowed to release the passwords for the encrypted material.