24 Dec 2015

Dotcom case 'destined for Supreme Court'

8:29 am on 24 December 2015

Kim Dotcom's fight to stay in New Zealand is not over yet, with his lawyers predicting the case will go all the way to the Supreme Court.

Kim Dotcom awaits the outcome of his extradition hearing.

Kim Dotcom awaits the outcome of his extradition hearing. Photo: RNZ/Diego Opatowski

Judge Nevin Dawson ruled yesterday that the internet businessman and his three co-accused - Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato - are eligible for extradition.

The United States has been trying to extradite the men since 2012, when they were arrested in a raid on Mr Dotcom's mansion on charges of copyright infringement, money-laundering and racketeering related to their file-sharing website, Megaupload.

But the men have said they will appeal the decision, meaning it could be months or even years before a final ruling on extradition is made.

In a judgement that ran to nearly 300 pages, Judge Dawson found the men's arguments did not come near to undermining the US case against them, and their defence should be heard at trial.

"The overwhelming preponderance of evidence produced by the United States ... establishes a prima facie case to answer for all respondents on each of the counts."

But outside court, Mr Dotcom said he would not give up.

"This is not the last word on the matter - we have filed an appeal, I'm still on bail, and we will go through the whole process until the very end."

Take a look back at major events since the start of the investigation into Kim Dotcom.

Other than that, he was tight-lipped, simply saying he was "disappointed" with the ruling.

Family members of the men were visibly upset by the decision, holding their heads in their hands and sobbing as Judge Dawson gave his decision.

Bram van der Kolk and Mathias Ortmann's lawyer Grant Illingworth said the process had taken a toll on his clients.

"They are living under the shadow of extradition to a country in which they have never lived," Mr Illingworth said.

"It is, of course, a distressing time for them and their families."

Kim Dotcom's lawyer Ron Mansfield described the decision to RNZ as grim but said it was not over yet.

"There is no doubt that if the United States had lost today they would be appealing to the High Court [too], and no matter who loses in the High Court, they'll appeal further.

"It's clearly a case that's destined for our Supreme Court."

The four men were bailed while the appeal process began.

Justice Minister Amy Adams would have to confirm the court's decision before they were sent anywhere.