28 Jun 2012

Kim Dotcom's Search Was Illegal, Says Judge

A police raid on internet millionaire Kim Dotcom in his mansion in Auckland, New Zeeland was illegal, says High Court justice Helen Winkelmann. Closer examination of the police warrants involved in Kim Dotcom's house raid revealed they didn’t adequately stipulate the offences he was charged with.

Cloned hard drives sent to the FBI were also unlawful as Dotcom never gave permission. Based on Winkelmann’s ruling, an independent lawyer was tasked to reviewing all evidence gathered in the raid and determining its relevance.

"They are very happy with Justice Winkelmann's decision," wrote a representative for Simpson Grierson, one of New Zealand’s leading commercial law firms. "We are considering our clients' remedies as a result of the decision that the search warrants were unlawful and that the FBI sending the clones to the USA was also unlawful."

The development is unlikely to affect ongoing legal action against Dotcom, because there’s still the issue of $500 million worth of pirated content that his website handled. Prosecuted with copyright infringement, Dotcom faces extradition in August and considerable financial losses.

Exchanging letters with Crown lawyers, Dotcom’s attorney, Paul Davison, argues that the FBI received no clearance for taking the copied hard drives data overseas and that the evidence should have been analyzed in its original form.

"The evidence is required in its original form to be sent to the US,” said Davison, quoting Crown lawyers. “That has not happened and will not happen without prior warning.''