Kim Dotcom raid was illegal, New Zealand judge rules

New Zealand's high court today ruled that a raid on Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom's Auckland mansion was illegal. From the Guardian:

Justice Helen Winkelmann said the warrants used when more than 90 New Zealand officers stormed the Megaupload founder's home and other properties in January were too broadly cast, "lacking adequate specificity as to the offence". "The search and seizure was therefore illegal," she ruled, adding that it was "clear that the police, in executing the warrants, have exceeded what they could lawfully be authorised to do".

The 56-page judgment is here (PDF), and may complicate future hearings on extradition to the US. The case has been described by some observers as a Homeland Security case, initiated under pressure from the MPAA.

Winkelmann said police had acted unlawfully by refusing to release material that was not relevant to the charges, and that their provision to the FBI of cloned hard drives seized in the raid was in breach of extradition legislation. Among the seized items that police have refused to release is video footage captured by Dotcom's surveillance cameras of the raid on the mansion.

IMAGE: By Aurich Lawson, for Sean Gallagher's January article at Ars Technica about Kim Dotcom. Worth re-reading today. (via).

More: Sydney Morning Herald, New Zealand Herald.

More good news: Dotcom has a new pal! Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. In an interview with the Associated Press, Woz said, "It's just kind of ridiculous what they did to his life. An awful lot of Kiwis support him. The U.S. government is on thin ground."