A New Zealand court has ruled that search warrants used when 70 police raided the New Zealand mansion of the suspected kingpin of an internet copyright theft ring were illegal.
German national Kim Dotcom, also known as Kim Schmitz, was one of four men arrested in January as part of an investigation into his Megaupload.com website led by the FBI.
Prosecutors say Dotcom was the ringleader of a group that has netted $175m since 2005 by copying and distributing music, movies and other copyrighted content without authorisation.
Dotcom’s lawyers say the company simply offered online storage.
On Thursday, High Court Judge Justice Helen Winkelmann found the warrants used in the seizure of property from Dotcom’s mansion near Auckland were illegal and that moves by the FBI to copy data from Dotcom’s computer and take offshore were also unlawful.
“The warrants did not adequately describe the offences to which they related,” Winkelmann said in her ruling. “Indeed they fell well short of that. They were general warrants, and as such, are invalid.”
Crikey! Now what? Can we extradite him?