I'm not sure how much the Crown has spent pursuing the Waihopai trio through the courts in its civil action.
I haven't seen or heard any figures being mentioned, but if someone less lazy than me would like to put in an OIA request (come on you journos!), it would probably make for interesting reading.
In my mind there's little doubt that the three will be found liable for causing damage to the spybase. The only question is how much they will have to pay and at what point they lose. A summary judgment hearing took place yesterday, and I expect that the judge will rule in favour of the Crown, because the defendants' case appears pretty weak. The defences they used in their criminal trial are unlikely to work in a civil action, and they are up against a hard-headed judge rather than a friendly jury.
But of more interest to me is the question of whether the Crown will ever recover a cent from these three. The trio claim they have no money. If that's true, then why are we suing them? The civil courts exist to provide a means for people who have suffered wrong to obtain redress, but it seems likely that (unless one of these guys has buried a treasure-chest filled with gold doubloons in his back yard) there will be no redress.
Even if the Crown gets its award of damages, what then? Does the Crown then bankrupt the three? What will that achieve? And how much more will that cost? And will the trio seek legal aid at every step of the way, including appeals?