Kim Dotcom, the Megaupload founder whose New Zealand mansion was raided by the US government police over suspected online file-sharing, has won a surprise reprieve.
A New Zealand judge has ruled that the search of Dotcom's home was unlawful because the authorities — acting at the behest of the FBI — failed to obtain the correct warrants and also mishandled evidence.
According to the LA Times, High Court Chief Justice Helen Winkelmann said the warrants were too broadly defined and "did not adequately describe the offenses to which they were related."
According to a 56-page decision obtained the Hollywood Reporter, Judge Helen Winkelmann ruled that the warrants used were insufficiently detailed, writing that a legal warrant should define "the extent of the authority to search and seize" and inform "the person or persons searching of the parameters of the Police's authority to search and seize goods."
Winkelmann noted that the warrants' language, which described Dotcom's crime as simply "breach of copyright."
She also criticized the decision to ship clones of Dotcom's hard drives offshore without his consent or direct orders from New Zealand's Solicitor-General to the Commissioner of Police.
Dotcom's defense also argued that he did not know why police showed up at his house in January and had never been informed that the US government was launching proceedings against him.
"The failure to refer to the laws of the United States on the face of the warrants, would no doubt have caused confusion to the subjects of the searches," Winkelmann wrote.
The decision helps Dotcom's defense case, however according to TechNewsWorld, it "doesn't necessarily mean the case against him is doomed."
The website quoted Rebecca Jeschke, spokesperson for the Electronic Frontier Foundation as saying the case would "be long and complex."
Dotcom is still due sit trial in August to hear whether or not he will be extradited to the US.
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