Megaupload court victory: New Zealand High Court orders police to return digital materials to Kim Dotcom - at their own cost

Entrepreneur is attempting to fight extradition to the United States on charges of copyright infringement, racketeering and money laundering

The New Zealand High Court has ordered police to sift through digital material taken from Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom and return anything irrelevant to their investigation at their own cost.

The controversial entrepreneur is attempting to fight extradition to the United States on charges of copyright infringement, racketeering and money laundering.

Dotcom has been been fighting to get the return of his material, which was illegally seized during a raid on his home last January, to help him prepare his defence.

High Court Justice Helen Winkelmann said the seizure of the devices without sorting them first was unlawful and the police have no right to keep material that is not relevant to the case. Crown lawyers had argued that the return of material was unnecessary.

Dotcom - whose real name is Kim Schmidt - is seeking damages from the New Zealand government for its role on a raid on his home in January 2012, when local police swooped on his mansion at the request of US authorities

He faces extradition for charges of leading a group that copied and distributed copyrighted material worth more than $500m (£322m).

Cloned copies of Dotcom’s hard drives sent to the FBI were deemed to have been unlawfully obtained and following the ruling his legal team asked the court to order the return of the entrepreneur's personal belongings.

The New Zealand authorities are now required to go through all the seized material in order to determine what is relevant to the ongoing prosecution and return the rest.

Judge Winkelmann rejected the argument that police made a minor technical mistake in the seizure: “The deficiencies in the warrants and, as a consequence, the searches, were more than merely technical,” she said.

“The defects in the warrants were such that the warrants were nullities.”

“The warrants could not authorize the permanent seizure of hard drives and digital materials against the possibility that they might contain relevant material, with no obligation to check them for relevance.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager - Email Marketing Services

£18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are looking for a highly or...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester

£18000 - £23000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultan...

Recruitment Genius: Plumber

£22000 - £25900 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company is expanding and th...

Recruitment Genius: Corporate Account Manager

£27000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Corporate Account Manager is ...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders