The case against megaupload.com founder Kim Dotcom has taken another hit today, as a New Zealand High Court judge has ruled that the warrants used in the search of Dotcom’s mansion, and those which allowed for the seizure of computer equipment, were illegal.
Justice Helen Winkelmann said the warrants were “too general” and “as such, are invalid,” as they didn’t sufficiently describe the offense or the nature of items being sought. According to a Stuff.co.nz report, it was added that “the warrants did not stipulate that [the crimes] were offenses under the law of the United States,” which would “no doubt cause confusion to the subjects of the searches.”
Furthermore, information copied from Dotcom’s hard drives by the FBI, and subsequently sent to the USA, was also done illegally, as Dotcom never gave his consent. We’ll leave you to consider the irony.
It has been decided that no further evidence can be removed from the country, and all cloned material must be returned. There also seems to be some confusion over what information stored on these hard drives is relevant to the case, and a court-appointed lawyer will conduct an investigation, which could result in evidence being given back to Dotcom.
TVNZ News says anything that could have conceivably stored data was originally seized, including home videos and “data from the swimming pool heating system.”
Dotcom extradition hearing still to come
This new decision comes after several “wins” for Dotcom in New Zealand, who has had assets returned, bail granted and allowed access to the Internet again. He has since taken to Twitter, where he has amassed more than 40,000 followers, and regularly tweets pictures such as the one above, labelled “a little love for everyone who is supporting me.”
Dotcom follows just one person, US President Barack Obama. He has also attracted the support of Steve Wozniak, who called the case against Dotcom “a threat to Internet innovation.”
The importance of the legal case against Dotcom can’t be overstated, as he has become this year’s poster boy for piracy and faces 20 years in prison should he be found guilty of wire fraud and copyright infringement. He claims he is innocent and that his enterprise was protected under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Win or lose, both sides have plenty at stake.
The next milestone in the case is the hearing on his extradition to the US, which is said to be taking place on August 6. With the way the cards are falling at the moment, Dotcom must be feeling a little more positive about the outcome.