Appeals Court Reverses Previous Decision That Found Warrants Used In Kim Dotcom's Arrest 'Invalid'
from the the-wheels-of-justice-also-apparently-tread-water dept
The Kim Dotcom saga rolls on. The legal process that resulted in Dotcom's New Zealand mansion being raided by local police was always questionable, a fact that was never more obvious than when a New Zealand high court judge declared the warrants used in the raid "invalid" because they were "general warrants" that failed to specify what offense justified the raid as well as what particular items were being sought.
As Mike noted then, the warrants were problematic because they failed to specify which US law(s) had been broken (or whose laws, for that matter), something rather important in a case being run by the US government. A New Zealand appeals court saw things differently, however.
A New Zealand appeals court ruled Wednesday that police acted legally when armed officers raided Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom's Auckland mansion as part of a US-led online piracy probe.According to the appeals court, the warrants weren't invalid, but just mildly screwed up.
The decision overturned an earlier finding that the January 2012 dawn raid was unlawful because the search warrants police used were too broad to be considered reasonable.
An appeals bench of three judges found the warrants were "defective in some respects" but not enough to render them invalid.As the appeals court sees it, failing to specify which set of laws was being applied (US/New Zealand) is more like a typo than an indication that the underlying legal basis is flawed. I would hazard a guess that "errors of expression" are the sort of thing that tend to crop up more frequently when one law enforcement agency acts on the behalf of another country's government… which is in turn acting on behalf of an industry.
"This really was a case of error of expression. The defects were defects in form not in substance," they said in a 44-page written judgement.
And this warrant discussion isn't completely over. Dotcom's team is planning to appeal the decision, which will subject these admittedly faulty (by two courts!) warrants to another round of scrutiny, something that can't be welcome news for the US government's prosecution team.