Judge gives Dotcom extra time – with a warning

Dotcom and co had argued they couldn't prepare for extradition hearing in time. 

A High Court judge has given Kim Dotcom and his co-accused more time to prepare for their extradition hearing.

The US government wants Mr Dotcom and co-accused Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk to go to the US to face copyright infringement charges for their alleged roles in file-sharing site Mega Upload.

While District Court judge Nevin Dawson had said the extradition hearing should take place on June 2, Justice Sarah Katz has quashed this decision. The High Court judge has told the District Court to set a date no earlier than September 1 this year.

However, the judge did not let Mr Dotcom and his co-accused off without a warning.

In her decision she says she has decided “with some reluctance” that the interests of natural justice require a later date.

“This should not be taken by the plaintiffs, however, as a signal that any ongoing funding or representation difficulties [if they arise] would be likely to justify further adjournments.

“On the contrary, the plaintiffs must take full responsibility for preparing their extradition hearing on whatever new date is allocated, with whatever level of legal support they are able to secure.”

Although Justice Katz tossed out Mr Dotcom and his co-accused’s arguments that they had not been given full and proper notice of the case, she said they were unable to prepare due to representation and funding.

She highlighted the plight of Mr Batato, who is in the process of applying for legal aid. 

The decision also notes that Mr Dotcom’s legal team could have only commenced serious preparation for the extradition hearing from mid-March this year onward, having been engaged shortly before December last year.

When asked about the case, Mr Dotcom was upbeat, telling NBR ONLINE “everything will be fine in the end.”

“I'm blessed with a new legal team that gets things done and with judges who are fair,” he says.

Read the full decision here.

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