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Megaupload search warrants were illegal, rules New Zealand high court judge

New Zealand police broke the law by using warrants that were "too broad" and also by releasing the data to the US

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Warrants used to seize external hard drives, laptops and phones from Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom's mansion in January are illegal, a New Zealand High Court judge ruled on Thursday.

The overly broad warrants allowed for the seizure of a broad category of items, only some of which are relevant to the US charges of criminal conspiracy and copyright infringement, wrote Justice Helen Winkelmann in her judgement.

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

Winkelmann said she needed to hear from Megaupload and New Zealand government attorneys before proceeding further. A hearing is scheduled for July 4 at 10 am. New Zealand government attorneys can appeal.

New Zealand police said in a statement that they "are considering the judgement and are in discussions with Crown Law to determine what further action might be required".

One of Megaupload's attorneys, William Akel, said via email that Dotcom as well as defendants Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram Van Der Kolk were pleased with the decision.

"We are now considering the implications of the rulings," Akel wrote.

The US is seeking the extradition of Dotcom, who is accused with six other individuals and two companies of profiting by encouraging Megaupload users to share material under copyright without permission. Megaupload displayed advertising and sold subscriptions for faster downloads of content.

US authorities contend Megaupload made as much as £112 million (US$175 million) while causing £321 million ($500 million) in damages to copyright holders.

During a raid at Dotcom's mansion outside of Auckland on 20 January, police seized up to 150 terabytes of data, some of which is encrypted. Portions of the data was copied by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and sent to the US.

Winkelmann ruled New Zealand police violated the law by releasing the data to the US. The Megaupload plaintiffs did not consent to the shipment of copies of the data to the US, she wrote.

An independent barrister should be appointed to conduct a review of the items seized and identify material that is either irrelevant to privileged, she wrote.


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nope said: That is the most half-assed reason to raid someones home ever Hey I think we should just go grab all of that guys shit because because yeah Naw its cool brah we dont need any of that pesky due process or a legal reason to do it Im da judgeTime to sue you for being retarded

Surfingjoe said: Hmmm a judge issues a warrant Quite rightly so the police act on the warrant seize property and arrest the perpetrator Then after spending probably a few hundred thousand dollars if not millions and hundreds of hours of tax payers time away from other crimes another judge states that the warrant is not valid What wait the warrant was issued by a judge the fact that a warrant was issued proper or not should BE VALID Time to sue the judicial branch of the government for malpractice

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