17 Jul 2014

Lawyers rack up hours on Dotcom

5:54 am on 17 July 2014

Lawyers working for the Crown have clocked up more than 20,000 hours of work on the Kim Dotcom case.

The figures, released to Radio New Zealand under the Official Information Act, date to January 2012 - the month Mr Dotcom was arrested during a raid at his Coatesville mansion.

Kim Dotcom speaking to media in July 2013.

Kim Dotcom speaking to media in July 2013. Photo: AFP

It includes about 1400 hours of work done by several private lawyers on behalf of the Crown, at a cost of nearly $400,000.

The rest of the work, carried out by the Crown Law Office staff, would be equivalent to about $6 million in legal fees if it had been done by a private firm.

The internet entrepreneur has been fighting attempts to extradite him to the United States at every turn.

If extradited, he faces charges of copyright piracy, money-laundering, and racketeering - a US charge equivalent to involvement in a criminal group.

An argument about what access Mr Dotcom should have to the evidence against him has already made it to the Supreme Court.

Lawyers on both sides will return to the Supreme Court again in August over whether search warrants used to raid the Dotcom mansion were legal.

Kim Dotcom's mansion in Coatesville in January 2013.

Kim Dotcom's mansion in Coatesville in January 2013. Photo: AFP

A lawyer who is unconnected to the various proceedings said the amount of time allocated was huge.

He said it was not often that a defendant had the financial means to fight the Crown the way Mr Dotcom had been able to.

A Crown Law spokesperson said it was important to remember that the Dotcom proceedings were not just one court case but several related cases.

She said it was not the first case of this magnitude, saying similar amounts of time had been spent on the Ahmed Zaoui case and the David Bain Privy Council appeal and re-trial.

The Crown Law figures also showed $70,000 had been spent on travel and accommodation related to the many court hearings.

There have been 285 court hours allocated to the Dotcom proceedings so far - the equivalent of 54 ordinary sitting days.

The extradition hearing is due to go ahead in February, after already being delayed four times.

The numbers:

  • 20,400 - the hours Crown Law staff and private lawyers with Crown warrants have spent on the case
  • $387,000 - the amount billed by private lawyers working for the Crown
  • $69,000 - the amount spent on travel and accommodation related to court hearings
  • 4 - the number of times Kim Dotcom's extradition hearing has been re-scheduled