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Raid on Dotcom’s Mega home legal, says New Zealand appeals court

By | Published on Friday 21 February 2014

Kim Dotcom

The New Zealand Court of Appeal has reversed a lower court ruling over the dramatic 2012 raid on the home of MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom, which occurred in the country as the US authorities were busy shutting the controversial file-transfer company down.

Since the MegaUpload shutdown, Dotcom has been fighting legal battles on various fronts (while also launching two new digital ventures, Mega and Baboom). The US authorities still want to extradite him to face charges of racketeering and copyright infringement in relation to the MegaUpload business.

Back in New Zealand, though, Dotcom’s legal team alleged that the raid on his home was illegal because the authorities there got the wrong kind of warrant. And in June 2012 the courts agreed with that argument. But the matter subsequently went to the Court Of Appeal, which this week did not concur, ruling that – while it was true the warrants used in the raid were “defective” in some respects – the issues were not sufficient to deem the paperwork invalid.

The appeal judges said in their ruling: “We are satisfied that the defects in the search warrants have not caused any significant prejudice to the respondents beyond the prejudice caused inevitably by the execution of a search warrant”.

The appeals court did, however, uphold the high court’s decision regards the sharing of digital evidence grabbed in the raid with the US authorities. Said data should not have been taken out of the country according to New Zealand law, the appeal judges confirmed. Prosecutors from the States took copies back home with them.

Dotcom has already said he plans to appeal the appeal ruling, while continuing to fight extradition attempts by the US.