Kim Dotcom, the founder of Megaupload.com, has something to smile about today as a New Zealand high court judge ruled that the raid on his Auckland mansion in January was illegal. The ruling is a major setback for the US, who have been looking to extradite the website owner since his arrest. In her 56-page ruling, Justice Helen Winkelmann wrote:
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.
She continued in her summary:
The Police relied on invalid warrants when they searched the properties and seized the various items. The search and seizure was therefore illegal. If it is relevant, I will hear counsel on whether in each case this therefore amounted to an unreasonable search and seizure for the purposes of s 21 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.
She also agreed with Megaupload lawyers that the cloning of data from hard drives, which was then passed on to US investigators did infringe on an agreement which New Zealand officials made with the defendants.
In a statement, Kim Dotcom and his fellow accused said:
We are very happy with today’s decision. We are digesting and analysing Justice Winkelmann’s judgment and considering out next steps.
The case is not over yet, as both sides have been ordered to appear in court on July 4 for further examination.