Search warrants that 70 police from New Zealand used to raid a mansion that was the home of a suspected internet piracy kingpin were ruled illegal by a court in New Zealand on Thursday. The ruling deals a huge blow to the copyright theft case brought by the FBI.
Kim Dotcom, whose birth name is Kim Schmitz, was arrested last January as part of an FBI investigation into his website Megaupload.com. Prosecutors allege that Dotcom was the head of ring that earned over $175 million since 2005 through copying and then distributing movies, music and other content that is copyrighted without authorization. Lawyers for the website owner, say his business is nothing more than an online storage house.
A High Court Judge in New Zealand found on Thursday that the warrants used when law enforcement officials seized property from the mansion owned by Dotcom near the city of Auckland were illegal and moves conducted by the FBI to copy information from the computer of Dotcom were unlawful.
The Judge said the warrants did not describe adequately the offenses to which they related. The Judge ruled the warrant were well short of that, as they were general warrants and were invalid. The police in New Zealand in response to the judge’s ruling said they were in discussion with Crown Law to see what further action needs to take place.
Dotcom is currently out on bail fighting U.S. authority’s attempts to have him extradited on charges of money laundering and copyright theft. A hearing on his extradition has been set for sometime in August.