Should one be polling before the court decision?

May 1st, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

In the same poll 48 per cent of voters said internet magnate should be allowed to stay in New Zealand – 42 per cent say Dotcom should be sent back to the US, and 10 per cent didn’t know.

This was a poll by 3 News.

I think it was a very bad decision to do a poll on this issue. It is tantamount to doing a poll on whether someone charged of a crime is guilty – before it has even gone to trial!

The decision on extradition is effectively one for the courts. Their role is to determine whether the offences he has been charged with in the US qualify under our extradition treaty and laws.

The decision on extradition is one for the courts, not one for public opinion. Of course Mr Dotcom is trying to make it into a cause celebre, but I am unsure as to why TV3 would play along.

If the courts find Dotcom should not be extradited, then he is very welcome here. If he is extradited and is found not guilty in a trial, then again he is welcome here. But the court processes should be allowed to reach a conclusion.

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14 Responses to “Should one be polling before the court decision?”

  1. peterwn (3,144 comments) says:

    There is the matter whether he informed Immigration of the things he should have disclosed when seeking residency. This is not lethal to residency, but residency or even citizenship can be cancelled if obtained under ‘false pretences’. This matter however needs to be put ‘on hold’ until after extradition proceedings are complete. If extradited his residency would most probably ‘lapse’ but if acquitted by US courts I would have no problem with allowing him to argue the case for residency, and in that respect, that he was extradited, would be irrevelant.

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  2. Viking2 (11,125 comments) says:

    Well now we are into double standards are we.
    We have no issue apparently in running a constant stream of polls before election day, which IMHO is a more important event than a court case. Especially a case that has been fraught with Govt. Servants breaking the Law.
    Compare that with the lies and garbage and spruiked policy announcements from Politicians that precede the election.

    If one lot is allowed to express their opinion then why not the other?

    One doesn’t suit the State the other is the State.

    there a name for that.

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  3. Nigel Kearney (864 comments) says:

    Is there a jury involved? If not, I think it’s fine to do this. Obviously people are ignorant of the facts and law, but there wouldn’t be very many opinion polls if that was a sufficient objection. Surely the judge is not so weak willed as to be swayed by the outcome of an opinion poll.

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  4. anonymouse (694 comments) says:

    The decision on extradition is effectively one for the courts.

    The end decision on whether to extradite someone from NZ is one made by the Minister of Justice,

    The court determines whether someone is eligible for extradition, but the decision to extradite them is political….

    Given the length of time this case is taking, I would not be surprised if we have a Labour/Greens government by then (2017+) and all sorts of flaky pressure groups will pop up to persuade Minister Clendon to let him stay :)

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  5. Pete George (22,754 comments) says:

    Is the legal process past the point that there could be a jury involved?

    If the final decision is by a politician then public opinion and polling is more of an issue.

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  6. kowtow (7,584 comments) says:

    Previous criminal convictions?

    Should have never been allowed in in the first place.

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  7. rosina (9 comments) says:

    So do you think if this was reversed, the American people should be polled on whether a person should be brought back to NZ to face a trial. Goes both ways. Its a legal process.

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  8. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    He was convicted in Germany on stolen phone card and hacking charges. He didn’t learn his lesson and was convicted in Germany on insider trading and embezzlement charges, after he had fled the country and had to be extradited. He still didn’t learn his lesson and was later convicted of securities charges in Hong Kong. It was entirely predictable that he would be in trouble again on fraud-connected charges, and also predictable that he’d try and avoid those charges by moving his residence and attempting to avoid extradition.

    The guy just doesn’t meet any sort of good character test for residence in NZ. Extradite him to the US. Failing that, send him back to Germany, or whatever other country fancies being the scene for his next criminal and extradition drama.

    I have no idea why he is such a cause celeb for Labour, the Greens, and NZ First. He has pretty much dominated Grant Robertson’s time in parliament for most of the last year.

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  9. Mark (1,360 comments) says:

    The part of this case that fascinates me is that it appears that US and NZ law allows, if we believe the media reports, a multi million dollar business to be closed down on the basis of an allegation of wrong doing by the FBI before it has been to court and before he has been found guilty.

    If this case ends up before the Courts in the US and he is found not guilty you have to wonder who his financial redress will be against. Lets hope that if it comes to pass the NZ Government is not in the firing line.

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  10. peterwn (3,144 comments) says:

    anonymouse – even though an extradition decision is allegedly ultimately ‘political’, the Minister would generally run with the decision of the courts. The only reason that it is potentially political is because some people in NZ do not like copyright law. The courts must be allowed to conclude whether extradition is warranted before the Minister can be expected to make a decision.

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  11. scrubone (3,044 comments) says:

    It’s a very messy affair all round really.

    But the point made above is a good one – this guy in no way passes the good character test and should not have been allowed in the country. Indeed, if he passes that test, is there even a point in having it in our law?

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  12. Graeme Edgeler (3,262 comments) says:

    The courts will not make a decision on whether Kim Dotcom will be extradited. The Courts make a decision on whether Kim Dotcom is eligible to extradited.

    Only after a Court has determined that someone is eligible to be extradited does the decision on whether they will be extradited get made.

    That is a decision for the Minister of Justice.

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  13. Redbaiter (7,522 comments) says:

    “That is a decision for the Minister of Justice.”

    I thought that ignorant statist oaf would be far too busy with her monstrous anti-bullying legislation.

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  14. OneTrack (2,575 comments) says:

    Kiwis love their free fireworks, icecream and pirated movies don’t they.

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