The New Zealand High Court found the police raid warrants did not adequately define the alleged offences against the MegaUpload founder, and that the “removal from New Zealand of cloned copies of hard drives seized was unlawful”, according to the New Zealand Herald.
“Justice Helen Winkelmann found the warrants used did not adequately describe the offences to which they were related,” the report said.
“Indeed they fell well short of that. They were general warrants, and as such, are invalid,” Winkelmann concluded. “These categories of items were defined in such a way that they would inevitably capture within them both relevant and irrelevant material. The police acted on this authorisation. The warrants could not authorise seizure of irrelevant material, and are therefore invalid.”
DotCom and three associates were arrested in DotCom’s NZ$30 million home in January by New Zealand police, with 135 computers and hard drives seized.
Yesterday’s High Court judgement ordered an independent lawyer to assess the captured content to determine which assets are valid to the investigation.
“Relevant material is to be released to US authorities and everything else is be returned to Dotcom ‘forthwith’,” the New Zealand Herald report said.
DotCom and three co-defendants, who face an US extradition hearing in August on copyright infringement and wire fraud charges, “are very happy with Justice Winkelmann’s decision” their attorneys’ spokesman said.