The Herald reported:
Officials were this morning making contact with the police to confirm a previously unknown dangerous driving conviction, revealed by the Herald today.
The conviction was not declared by Dotcom on his application for residency even though it came from a speeding incident just eight months before he made his application to live in New Zealand.
Applicants for residency are obliged to make a full disclosure of previous convictions and seek a “special direction” waiver.
Dotcom did so for a hacking conviction in 1994 and an insider trading conviction in 2001 – but there was no reference to the dangerous driving charge, to which he pleaded guilty on September 14, 2009.
He had been travelling at 149km/h in a 50km/h zone in Albany, on Auckland’s North Shore.
Travelling 99 km/hr over the speed limit is near homicidal, in a 50 km/hr area. I will sometimes drives in excess of the speed limit when I judge it safe to do so, but to drive at three times the speed limit is very very dangerous.
In the residency form, Dotcom signed in June 2010, there is a clear tick in the box declaring no dangerous driving conviction.
The Herald obtained details of the conviction from the North Shore District Court, where it was recorded under the name “Kim Schmitz”, the identity under which Dotcom was born.
Did he use his old name, to try and hide the conviction?
In a written statement, Immigration NZ admitted it had no idea Dotcom had a conviction for dangerous driving until it was told by the Herald.
The statement said Immigration NZ didn’t know because it never did a police check.
Well they should. But of course the onus is on the applicant to tell the truth.
The statement read: “Immigration New Zealand (INZ) can confirm that Kim Dotcom did not declare a dangerous driving conviction in New Zealand.
“Normally there is no requirement for a New Zealand Police check if an applicant has lived in New Zealand for less than 12 months at the time their residence application is lodged and there are no reasonable grounds to suspect the applicant has been charged with an offence in New Zealand.”
The statement said it did not check because “Mr Dotcom did not declare any convictions in New Zealand and had been living here for less than 12 months”.
As Dotcom has become such an unpopular figure, it is tempting to say that his failure to disclose his dangerous driving conviction should be used as grounds to rescind the residency decision.
But these decisions should not be based on popularity. If the non-disclosure was a genuine oversight, then the question should be would he have been declined residency in 2010, if it had been disclosed? I doubt, it would have affected the decision.
However if the non-disclosure was deliberate, and the use of his old name part of a strategy to conceal the conviction, then that would be grounds to review the residency decision.
So accidental non-disclosure of the dangerous driving conviction should not lead to the residency being cancelled. But a deliberate concealment could be grounds.