23 Feb 2012

Work to be done ahead of extradition hearing - Dotcom lawyer

5:09 am on 23 February 2012

The lawyer for the German millionaire accused of world-wide internet piracy says there is a lot of work ahead to prepare for his extradition hearing.

Kim Dotcom appeared at the North Shore District Court on Wednesday where he was granted bail, having applied for the third time.

The extradition hearing is still six months away, and Paul Davison QC, says while they are anxious to have the matter dealt with promptly, they are likely to need the time.

He says he still has to wait for documents from the United States which have to be assessed before further work on the case.

Mr Dotcom, 38, has compared his treatment by New Zealand police to "an audition for American Idol."

The German founder of the file-sharing website Megaupload, who also has New Zealand residency, and three other men were arrested at his mansion near Auckland on 20 January in connection with a major internet piracy prosecution.

Mr Dotcom has finalised his electronic bail conditions, and is returning to his house near the Dotcom mansion in Coatesville.

Leaving the court, he told the throng of waiting media that after a month he is relieved to be going home to see his three children and pregnant wife.

When asked how he felt about the way the police treated him, he said it felt like an audition for TV reality show American Idol, but did not expand on the statement.

Mr Dotcom's lawyer Paul Davison says his client is relieved to be joining his family.

Supporters then bundled him into the back of large black SUV and drove him away.

The four accused face a raft of charges including criminal copyright infringement and wire fraud.

Two previous court decisions found that Mr Dotcom posed a serious flight risk, but Judge Dawson on Wednesday said the risk was not significant enough to keep Mr Dotcom behind bars awaiting an extradition hearing.

Judge Dawson also said that Mr Dotcom would not be able to avoid defending the charges, even if he managed to flee to Germany.

Extradition decision months away

Moves are under way to extradite all four accused to the United States, however no decision is likely for six months.

At court on Wednesday, Mr Dotcom and his co-accused had a date for their extradition hearing set, with August the first available time.

US authorities allege Megaupload has profited by at least $175 million and want to seize more than 60 of its bank accounts.

The authorities have until 5 March to file extradition papers.