New Zealand High Court Orders Kiwi Police & FBI To Return Seized Hard Drives To Kim Dotcom
from the another-failure dept
The investigation and arrest of Kim Dotcom continues to show itself to be an operation that was poorly thought out, where clear liberties were taken by law enforcement who so believed the “Dr. Evil” image that the MPAA set up for them that actually following official procedures seemed of little importance. They really seemed to think that they could do anything and Dotcom would cave. But, as he’s challenged a variety of points, and won most of the battles, the carelessness and sloppiness of the whole production keeps getting highlighted over and over again. The latest example: a court has ordered New Zealand police to give Dotcom back “all digital material taken illegally” during the raid, and also “to return anything irrelevant to their investigation” — and they need to do all of this at their own cost. And, yes, this includes the cloned hard drives that were already sent to the FBI in the US. The court also said that further copies of the cloned hard drives must be destroyed.
The judgement, made by chief High Court justice Helen Winkelmann today, says the seizure of devices without sorting them first was unlawful, and that the police have no right to keep irrelevant material.
[….] “The warrants could not authorise 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,” Winkelmann wrote. “They could not authorise the shipping offshore of those hard drives with no check to see if they contained relevant material. Nor could they authorise keeping the plaintiffs out of their own information, including information irrelevant to the offences.”
It will be interesting to see how the FBI reacts. Winkelmann told NZ law enforcement that it must inform the FBI of the order. I expect that the FBI will proceed to completely ignore the order, but I imagine that that, too, may complicate the extradition case.
Just a suggestion for the US DOJ and New Zealand Law Enforcement: next time, before rushing off when Chris Dodd and his buddies point their finger at someone and claim they’re “evil,” perhaps you should actually follow the law, rather than pretending you’re a bunch of cowboys setting up a Hollywood-style raid to make Dodd happy.