5 Oct 2015

Dotcom lawyers say fair hearing is impossible

1:16 pm on 5 October 2015

Lawyers for Kim Dotcom and his co-accused are asking for their extradition hearing to be halted, saying a fair hearing is impossible at the moment.

Mr Dotcom, Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato face extradition to the United States to face charges of copyright violation, money-laundering and rackeetering related to their website Megaupload.

The men's lawyers are making applications to the court today for a stay in proceedings. If a stay is granted, it would halt the case temporarily or even permanently.

Mr Ortmann and Mr van der Kolk's lawyer, Grant Illingworth, said a US forfeiture order had prevented them from paying for expert witnesses and legal advice anywhere outside New Zealand.

That overrode Hong Kong and New Zealand courts allowing them to use frozen funds to pay for their legal defence, Mr Illingworth said.

That was preventing the men from getting the legal advice they needed on American law to properly defend themselves, he said.

They said that meant they can not present their defence properly and it would be a breach of natural justice to continue the hearing.

The order had also delayed their preparation for the case, Mr Illingworth said.

Mr Illingworth earlier got into a heated exchange with Judge Nevin Dawson over the judge's own instructions to the court in a minute issued last Friday.

Mr Illingworth told Judge Dawson his meaning was not clear.

"Well, that's what my memorandum says," Judge Dawson replied.

"No, it's not what your memorandum says, sir," Mr Illingworth said.

The exchange prompted Judge Dawson to adjourn the court so he could decide whether Mr Illingworth could present the arguments he wanted to.