A New Zealand court has ruled that the search warrants used to raid the mansion of MegaUpload kingpin, accused of copyright theft, were illegal.
The court ruled yesterday that the 70 police officers who raided Kim Dotcom’s house did so without the proper legal backing. Dotcom, or Kim Schmitz was one of four men arrested in January as part of an investigation of the MegaUpload.com website. This was led by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Prosecutors claim that Dotcom was the leader of a group which earned $175 million since 2005 – all by distributing and sharing music, movies and other copyright material without approval. Dotcom said that his services were just offering online storage and he had no control over the content being shared.
High Court judge Helen Winkelmann found that the warrants used in the seizure of property from his mansion were illegal and that FBI also illegally handled the copying of data from Dotcom’s computer.
Winkelmann said in her ruling “The warrants did not adequately describe the offences to which they related, Indeed they fell well short of that. They were general warrants, and as such, are invalid.”
It seems almost incredible that this is the case, however the New Zealand police said in a statement that they are considering the judgement and are in talks with Crown Law to see what further action may be needed.
Dotcom is currently on bail in New Zealand with U.S. authorities wanting to extradite him on charges of money laundering and copyright theft. Dotcom had millions of dollars in assets frozen and 20 luxury vehicles and works of art were also seized at the time of the raid. He owns one of the largest houses in New Zealand.
Kitguru says: Will the case be dismissed? Whatever the outcome it looks as if certain legal procedures were ignored by the authorities.New Zealand Court rules Megaupload search warrants were illegal,