The primary judge overseeing US attempts to extradite Kim Dotcom and associates behind the Megaupload file sharing site from New Zealand, has stepped down from the copyright infringment hearing after making comments suggesting the United States is the enemy.
Judge David Harvey, considered to be New Zealand's most knowledgeable legal arbiter on internet and copyright matters, was widely reported to have quoted a comic that stated "We have met the enemy, and he is the US".
Harvey's words were a play on US naval commander Oliver Hazard Perry's We have met the enemy, and they are ours as written in a message announcing an American victory in the War of 1812 with Great Britain.
This was updated to We have met the enemy, and they are us in the Pogo comic strip by Walt Kelly, referring to the demonstrations in the US brought on by the unpopular Vietnam War.
The comments, which did not refer to the Dotcom case, were made at a New Zealand telco conference coinciding with the launch of the Fair Deal Coalition, a lobby group opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement currently being negotiated with the US.
According to district court chief judge Jan-Marie Doogue, Harvey decided to step down from the case as he recognised the remarks made in the context of a paper delivered on copyright law could reflect on his impartiality in the case.
Harvey had previously set down a hearing to decide whether or not the FBI would be allowed to clone Dotcom's hard drives and send the information overseas.
US authorities were found to have already cloned and removed the drives. Another hearing presided by Justice Helen Winkelmann ruled that sending Dotcom's data to the US was unlawful.
District Court Judge David Harvey was appointed in 1989 and has been working with the New Zealand Department of Courts on the development of trial management software. He is a part-time lecturer at Auckland University's Faculty of Law and a consultant editor for Butterworth's Electronic Business and Technology Law publication.