The Court of Appeal has rejected an 11th attempt to delay the extradition hearing and it finally looks like it will happen next week.
I’ve long stated that I think the relatively low bar for extradition will be met. The hearing is not to determine of Dotcom is guilty of the US charges, but that there is a prima facie case, and that the charges are crimes under both NZ and US law.
That does not mean Dotcom is guilty. I think he does have a reasonable defence to the charges, and if extradited he may be found not guilty. It will depend on the details of the case and how the business was run.
So next week we should see some of the details in court, and then a decision by the District Court Judge. No doubt Dotcom, if he loses, will seek to judicially review that decision all the way to the Supreme Court if possible. so don’t expect any finality any time soon.
Some extracts from the judgment:
There are strong policy reasons weighing against constant disruption of pre-trial processes by applications to a higher court and then, potentially, further appeals from that decision. Micro-management of pre-trial procedure by higher courts risks delaying and fragmenting the criminal process. Policy factors militate toward only allowing review (or only granting relief) if the error is blatant, or will potentially lead to serious injustice that cannot be corrected on appeal.
That is actually from the High Court ruling, but quoted by the Court of Appeal.
For the reasons we have explained, this Court is unable to resolve that dispute with the urgency required. But we are satisfied that if there is a need, and it is not afforded to the appellants, they will have adequate remedies. In short, we are satisfied there is no risk of any breach of the appellant’s right to a fair extradition hearing going unremedied.
I imagine a very full media bench at the hearing.