Another Win for Kim Dotcom: NZ Court Approves $5 Million for Lawyers

Kim Dotcom scores again in the New Zealand High Court. The Court has agreed to allow him to pay his lawyers $5 million using a bond that was seized during the illegal raid of his Mansion. He also got money for living expenses:

The money comes from a $10m government bond which was seized by the government on behalf of the United States as part of its internet piracy case against Dotcom and those involved in his Megaupload filesharing company. The United States position is that all the money and assets of Dotcom were gained through criminal copyright violation by internet piracy.

The ruling from Justice Judith Potter has also allowed Dotcom to sell some of the cars which were seized during the January raid.


From the opinion:

The State's contingent interest in the restrained property is of a punitive nature and limited to depriving Mr Dotcom of the fruits of his alleged offending. In contrast, MrDotcom's access to counsel is supported by his rights to natural justice," to be presumed innocent until proven guilty," and to consult and instruct a lawyer and to have adequate time and facilities to prepare a defence." It is generally assumed that the right to access defence counsel includes the right to counsel of the defendant's choice (though exceptions apply to legally-aided persons)

... In this case, there is no evidence that this right has been exercised in an irresponsible manner. Mr Dotcom has been obliged to respond to the proceedings initiated by the United States authorities and there is no evidence that he has unnecessarily prolonged the proceedings or otherwise acted irresponsibly in relation to his defence... Where legislation can be interpreted consistently with rights guaranteed by the New Zealaod Bill of Rights Act 1990, that interpretation should be preferred.

...I conclude that Mr Dotcom should be allowed access to his restrained properly to pay legal expenses relating to his defence on a solicitor and client basis, provided that the costs are not wasteful or dishonestly incurred and claimed.

As to the amount of legal fees and whether they are excessive, the Court says it should not be the one to make that determination.

I consider an appropriate solution is to appoint an independent Queen's Counsel to review the fees and disbursements charged to Mr Dotcom and to report the result of his or her assessment to the Official Assignee, Mr Dotcom and the Commissioner.

The Judge said Kim Dotcom's funds can't be used to pay legal fees for his co-defendants. His wife can probably get her legal fees covered if she makes an application.

As to future legal fees needed by Dotcom,

I therefore order that $lM [$1 million] be set aside as a fund for Mr Dotcom's future legal expenses. Payment of legal expenses from this fund will be subject to the same supervisory jurisdiction as current legal expenses. Any future legal expenses claimed by Mr Dotcom's legal advisers must be reviewed by the supervising Queen's Counsel and paid by the Official Assignee, in accordance with the criteria and process set out above. Any part of the fund for future legal expenses which is unexpended shall be held by the Official Assignee on interest bearing deposit.

Ars Technica article on the decision is here.

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  • Display: Sort:
    He is So Lucky... (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Aug 30, 2012 at 08:55:59 AM EST
    ...that NZ isn't pulling a Brittan or Sweden and letting the US dictate the terms.  And while the NZ enforcement section bowed, their judicial is holding firm, or rather doing it's job.

    How absolutely refreshing.  Brittan seems to be doubling down on Assange, where protestors are being removed and the thought being a raid on the embassy is imminent.

    Back to the subject, kim.com is winning at every turn, hopefully this will set some precedence back home and this kind of world policing for the copyright industry will show some constraint in the future.  But I doubt it.  

    One can't emphasize how smart .com was in choosing NZ as his residence.  Not many countries left that seem to actually believe in the notion of innocent until proven guilty.

    Still using my PomPoms :) (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by nycstray on Thu Aug 30, 2012 at 11:58:00 PM EST
    I'm so loving this guy.

    I just wish he wouldn't (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 01:47:34 AM EST
    keep plugging Romney/Ryan on his twitter feed. (He seems to think they'll stop his prosecution or at least not support Hollywood efforts to protect its  artists' copyrights.)  

    Agree :) (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by nycstray on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 03:00:49 AM EST
    but i do have a hard time getting over his personality :D

    IO Noticed That... (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 09:54:50 AM EST
    ...and I am too busy to check his claim that republicans support 'Internet Freedom', and more important, how that related to him.

    But then again... there is a D in office who surely signed off on this and certainly Assange.


    I think I am confused (none / 0) (#10)
    by nyjets on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 10:55:12 AM EST
    But is it not a good think to protect artists with respect to copyrights issues.
    Regardless of the particular case against this guy, shouldn't our copyright laws be enforced.

    What Law... (none / 0) (#13)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Sep 04, 2012 at 09:46:32 AM EST
    ...did he break ?

    They are trying to get him because other people broke the law and used his servers/service to do so.  Plus of course the whole deal about him not being an American and the arrest happening in New Zealand.


    wonder how many$$$ it cost him? (none / 0) (#2)
    by fishcamp on Thu Aug 30, 2012 at 09:18:45 AM EST

    Yeah... (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by kdog on Thu Aug 30, 2012 at 11:31:32 AM EST
    dude should be entitled to interest too...in addition to the legal fees required to get partial repayment of all the loot stolen from him.

    The US is looking like a fool (none / 0) (#4)
    by sj on Thu Aug 30, 2012 at 05:22:33 PM EST
    as well as a bully.  Jeebus, with all the money they spent on this so-called operation, you would think their case and their actions would be a little more airtight.  Apparently they were counting on "because I said so" to carry them through.

    Both Dot com (none / 0) (#9)
    by fishcamp on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 10:36:57 AM EST
    and Clint Eastwood should probably wear tin foil hats until after the election

    If I could (none / 0) (#11)
    by Slayersrezo on Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 08:39:20 AM EST
    I'd give him an infinite amount of "thumbs up"! :)

    Thanks for the update, Jeralyn.

    Large BitTorrent file-sharing site Demonoid (none / 0) (#12)
    by DFLer on Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 09:42:28 PM EST
    shut down by Ukraine authorities..pressured by US to get tough?



    sorry for the long link...the chain icon isn't working for me on this computer