19 Jun 2014

Crown tactics 'sneaky' - Dotcom author

1:09 pm on 19 June 2014

A journalist who wrote a book about Kim Dotcom said the Crown had taken a bizarre step to try to get information from him.

The High Court has ruled that research material used for a book about internet businessman Kim Dotcom is not protected by the Privacy Act, because the book is not journalism.

Mr Fisher said the Cown's tactics are a sneaky way to get a journalist to reveal his source information.

The Crown wants access to research material from a book called The Secret Life of Kim Dotcom as it prepares a court case against the internet businessman.

Kim Dotcom.

Kim Dotcom. Photo: AFP

Normally, journalists' research material is protected from Privacy Act requests, but Justice Winkelmann found the exemption only covers news articles and programmes, not books.

Mr Fisher said he is astonished by the ruling and worries it will have a chilling effect on journalism.

Media lawyer, Ursula Cheer agrees the Privacy Act has a narrow definition of news.

But she said the ruling only applies to information held about people already involved in court cases.

Justice Winkelmann ruled Mr Dotcom should ask for the research material and, if relevant, supply it to the Crown.

Meanwhile, Mr Dotcom has come a step closer to getting back some computer files that were taken during a police raid on his Auckland mansion.

The internet businessman has been at loggerheads with Crown lawyers for more than two years over the computer material.

Mr Dotcom wants the material to help him prepare for his extradition hearing in July on copyright and money-laundering charges.

The High Court ruled last year that Mr Dotcom should be given copies of the hard drives after providing police with the password so they could be searched.

But he's argued that he needs the password hint on the hard drives to remind him.

In the High Court in Auckland on Thursday, Mr Dotcom's lawyer Paul Davison said the Crown had agreed to provide a list of files that might contain the password hint.