[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific
New Zealand court nulls 'Dotcom' warrants
Judge says search of mansion belonging to pirated content distribution ringleader Kim Dotcom was illegal.
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2012 11:59
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom talks to members of the media as he leaves the High Court in Auckland [Reuters]

A New Zealand court has ruled that search warrants used when 70 police raided the New Zealand mansion of the suspected kingpin of an internet copyright theft ring were illegal.

German national Kim Dotcom, also known as Kim Schmitz, was one of four men arrested in January as part of an investigation into his Megaupload.com website led by the FBI.

Prosecutors say Dotcom was the ringleader of a group that has netted $175m since 2005 by copying and distributing music, movies and other copyrighted content without authorisation.

Dotcom's lawyers say the company simply offered online storage.

On Thursday, High Court Judge Justice Helen Winkelmann found the warrants used in the seizure of property from Dotcom's mansion near Auckland were illegal and that moves by the FBI to copy data from Dotcom's computer and take offshore were also unlawful.

"The warrants did not adequately describe the offences to which they related," Winkelmann said in her ruling. "Indeed they fell well short of that. They were general warrants, and as such, are invalid."

In response, New Zealand's police said in a statement they were considering the judgment and were in discussions with Crown Law "to determine what further action might be required".

Police said no further comment would be made until that process was complete.

Dotcom is on bail in New Zealand, as US authorities seek to extradite him on charges of copyright theft and money laundering.

Officers cut Dotcom out of a safe room he had barricaded himself in within the sprawling mansion - reputedly New Zealand's most expensive home.

Millions of dollars in assets were seized or frozen, including almost 20 luxury vehicles, dozens of computers and expensive art works.

280

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
About 500,000 participated around the globe in the Peoples Climate March, and Al Jazeera spoke to some in New York.
Separatist movements in Spain, Belgium and Italy may face headwinds following Scotland's decision to stay in the UK.
A fishing trawler carrying 500 migrants across the Mediterranean was rammed by another boat, causing hundreds to drown.
Anti-immigration Sweden Democrats party - with roots in the neo-Nazi movement - recently won 12.9 percent of the vote.
Palestinian doctor who lost three daughters in previous Gaza war is fighting to bring 100 wounded kids to Canada.