Judge considers another Dotcom hearing delay
By Kim Vinnell
Internet tycoon Kim Dotcom is back in court, as the long-awaited extradition hearing has yet to properly get underway.
The United States wants him sent back to face charges of copyright violations and money laundering – but he's not going quietly.
Clad in his trademark black, the usually outspoken Dotcom had nothing to say as he arrived at court.
Taking his place in a special chair – apparently for back pain – the entrepreneur's lawyer Ron Mansfield argued there's simply no case to answer.
"The United States can't proceed because Kim Dotcom and the other respondents were effectively part of an internet service provider and in doing so, they are entitled under Section 92b, which prohibits a criminal prosecution," Mr Mansfield told the court.
The US accuses Dotcom of copyright violations, racketeering, fraud and money laundering, stemming from his now defunct file-sharing site Megaupload.
They want him and three other Megaupload executives sent back to face charges.
But Dotcom and his co-accused argue the extradition hearing shouldn't start until three more requests to delay proceedings are heard and ruled on.
They say there's been an abuse of process and the fact they can't legally use unfrozen cash to pay US-based experts or lawyers is a huge disadvantage.
"The US has come to this court, its invoked the NZ legal system… but then it has refused to allow the court to be assisted by properly qualified experts who can assist the court on US legal matters and US technical matters," says lawyer Grant Illingworth.
The extradition hearing has been delayed nine times since the US-requested raid on Dotcom's Coatesville mansion in January 2012.
Two of the co-accused are arguing New Zealand shouldn't be allowed to represent the US at all.
But the Crown says that's a farce.
"This tactic by the respondents, and let's call it for what it is, falls a long way short of the mark," says Crown lawyer Christine Gordon.
The Judge will consider the request for yet another delay and is expected to announce his decision on Thursday.