Judge: Search and seizure at Dotcom mansion illegal
Thursday 28 Jun 2012 4:44 p.m.
By 3 News online staff
The police search and seizure at Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom’s mansion has been ruled illegal by a High Court Judge.
Chief High Court Judge Helen Winkelmann released the ruling this evening.
She also has ruled that it was unlawful for copies of Dotcom’s computer data to be shipped overseas to the United States.
Legal counsel for Dotcom told 3 News he was very happy with the decision and they are currently digesting the news and analysing their next steps.
Dotcom’s wife, Mona, took to Twitter after the announcement was made public, tweeting: “Amazing news today!!!”.
In a summary of her findings, Judge Winkelmann said the warrants executed by police “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.”
Judge Winkelmann said the warrants were for seizure of a “very broad category” of items – meaning inevitably both relevant and irrelevant items were seized in the raids.
“The police relied on invalid warrants when they searched the properties and seized the various items. The search and seizure was therefore illegal.”
Dotcom appeared in court last month contesting the raids and had asked for CCTV footage to be released.
He says computers seized from him contained personal information, including family home movies, and data needed to defend his upcoming court case.
Police say they are "considering the judgement and are in discussions with Crown Law to determine what further action might be required". They will not be making any further comment on the recent judgement until those discussions are "complete".
Dotcom and three other men were arrested at Dotcom's $30 million rented mansion in Coatesville, Auckland, in a police raid on January 20.
They face charges in the US of racketeering, copyright infringement and money laundering and are awaiting proceedings to extradite them to the US.
Dotcom has denied any wrongdoing.
The US Government is seeking to extradite Dotcom on charges that include copyright infringement relating to the Megaupload file-sharing website that he founded.
Dotcom is currently on bail and will face the extradition hearing in August.