The Government will next week begin arguing its case to extract $1.2 million in damages from the three men who sabotaged the radar dome at Marlborough's Waihopai Valley spybase.
A preliminary hearing in the High Court at Wellington on Monday will hear the merits on whether the civil case the Government has taken should proceed.
In 2008 teacher Adrian Leason, Dominican friar Peter Murnane and farmer Sam Land cut through alarmed electric fences at the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) base near Blenheim without setting off any audible alarms or getting electrocuted before reaching one of two inflatable domes covering satellite dishes and slashing and deflating it.
The trio used the "claim of right" defence - subsequently amended by the Government - and said they were saving lives in Iraq by disrupting satellite transmissions and were acting for the greater good. A jury found them not guilty of burglary and wilful damage.
However, Attorney-General Chris Finlayson subsequently filed the papers on behalf of the GCSB to recover the cost of damages.
A spokeswoman for the Crown Law Office today said it would make no comment before the case went ahead.
However, Father Murnane told NZPA the three would argue that the GCSB was in breach of international law. He did not want to go into the details ahead of the group's lawyers, "but I think we have a good case".
Fr Murnane said they were not required to be in court, but he and Mr Leason would still attend. Mr Land would not be attending as he was busy on his farm, he said.
The Crown is seeking $1.2m in damages, about $1.14m of which is the cost of the repairs for the deflated "teflon-impregnated glass fibre enclosure" or "radome". It is also seeking about $400 for providing food and drink for the workers who carried out the repairs.
If the Crown wins its case it will ask to have the damages split equally between the three men, who have made no secret that they are not wealthy people.
Fr Murnane said the fact the three had no money raised a big question over the whole procedure, but the Crown was pursuing them regardless.