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Breaking: Megaupload seizures illegal says NZ High Court

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America’s case against Megaupload boss Kim Dotcom is looking increasingly shambolic, with a New Zealand High Court judge finding that the property seizures in January raid were illegal.

Both New Zealand’s National Business Review and TVNZ are reporting that Judge Helen Winkelmann has declared the warrants used in the searches of Dotcom’s mansion were illegal.

Furthermore, the judge said it was unlawful for Dotcom’s data to be sent offshore.

TVNZ quotes the judge as saying that the warrants “fell well short” of adequately describing the offences under which the warrants operated. “They were general warrants, and as such, are invalid”.

She has also ordered that “clones” of Dotcom’s machines held by NZ authorities be returned to him, that any data held in New Zealand should stay there, and that the country should “request” that US authorities return clones taken offshore.

This seems to be no near-run or “technical” victory: NBR says the judge ordered that all data seized be reviewed by a High Court lawyer with appropriate experience, and only data relevant to the case should be retained. ®

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