New Zealand's High Court rules Megaupload/DotCom raid "illegal", while Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak labels US case against the file hosting websites "hokey"
The New Zealand High Court has ruled that the search warrant obtained by US authorities used to search and seize Megaupload assets, and assets of its founder Kim DotCom, were invalid, making the entire raid illegal in the opinion of court.
This decision deals a big blow to the US government's case against file hosting website Megaupload, and its attempt to extradite the principals of the operation, including founder DotCom, to the United States for trial.
Justice Helen Winkelmann said that the warrants were far too broad in describing the offences that make up the justification for the raid, and therefore, the warrant did not comply with New Zealand law. Her decision is likely to be appealed.
Justice Winkelmann also blasted the actions of the FBI, who ignored an agreement made with DotCom's lawyers in regards to sending cloned images of seized hard-drives to the US. Justice Winkelmann also chided New Zealand Police for "an unreasonable search and seizure", and ordered all seized materials not relevant to the case to be returned as soon as possible, as well as preventing any further materials being shipped to the US.
A further hearing on the matter will be heard next week which could further set back the US prosecutor's case against Megaupload and DotCom if the evidence obtained "illegally" is ruled inadmissible, although a US court might very well see things very different to that of New Zealand's.
Meanwhile, following the revelation Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak visited DotCom in New Zealand some time ago to support his plight, this week, Wozniak spoke again about the Megaupload case, calling it "hokey".
Sympathetic to DotCom's ordeal, in which his home and personal property were seized (illegally, as it turns out), Wozniak also labelled the US government's case against DotCom as being "on thin ground".
Wozniak says that the correct analogy for Megaupload is that of a highway, and the people who uploaded ans downloaded pirated content would be comparable to speeding motorists.
"You don't just shut down the whole street because somebody is speeding," Wozniak retorted.