Dotcom appeal denied

  • 14/09/2015
Kim Dotcom
Kim Dotcom

Internet piracy-accused Kim Dotcom's extradition court hearing will go ahead next week after he lost his battle to access millions of dollars held overseas.

The Court of Appeal today rejected Dotcom's appeal that natural justice had been denied because he and his co-accused were unable to pay for American copyright lawyers and experts.

The extradition hearing is scheduled to start in Auckland on Monday - the 10th time a date for it has been set since Dotcom, Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato were charged following the Hollywood-style raid of Dotcom's mansion north of Auckland in 2012.

The appeal court justices, who heard the case last week, lamented the amount of material they had to deal with in a short time - 292 pages referring to more than 45 cases - saying it was impossible to make a proper decision.

However, they decided the arguments could be made at the extradition hearing in the District Court and that would not deprive Dotcom of adequate remedies.

"If he [the judge] decides the actions of the United States have deprived the appellants of American expertise they need... then inevitably he will have to adjourn the extradition hearing."

Dotcom and his co-accused could also appeal the District Court decision if it didn't go their way, they said.

Before the decision, Dotcom tweeted that if the appeal didn't go his way the New Zealand judiciary would have turned itself into a "US-owned dancing bear".

"As expected... Dancing bear," he said later.

Dotcom and his co-accused have been in a long-running court battle with the Crown and US government, which have been seeking to extradite them to the US to face charges of conspiracy to illegally distribute copyrighted material via the Megaupload cloud-storage site.

They argued they can't pay for legal help or expert witnesses in the US because their funds have been confiscated.

Dotcom's lawyer Ron Mansfield told the appeal court the extradition hearing's legal costs of up to $500,000 were "peanuts" compared to the $10 million in frozen assets in New Zealand and more than HK$200 million (NZ$41m) in Hong Kong.

He said the case may be the largest criminal copyright fraud case ever, making it complex to defend.