Police made 'errors' during raid on Megaupload boss
- 19 March 2012
- From the section Technology
A police blunder could mean luxury cars, giant TVs and jewellery seized during a police raid will be returned to Megaupload owner Kim Dotcom.
The property was confiscated during a dawn raid on the New Zealand home of the file-sharing site's owner.
A New Zealand judge has now ruled that the court order used to justify the seizure should never have been granted.
The raid led to the closure of Megaupload and seizure of the web domains it used.
Judge Judith Potter said the court order should now be considered "null and void".
On 20 January, police in New Zealand swooped on the £20m mansion in Auckland where Kim Dotcom, boss of Megaupload, lived with his family.
The raid was carried out at the request of US authorities who accuse Mr Dotcom (formerly Schmitz) and his business partners of using Megaupload to engage in large scale copyright theft.
The defendants have denied the charges and said they were diligent in policing Megaupload for any content that violated copyright laws.
Luxury cars, jet skis, jewellery and other assets were confiscated during the January raid even though it now emerges that paperwork justifying the seizure was incorrectly filed.
The seizure left Mr Dotcom briefly unable to mount a legal defence.
Government and police in New Zealand have admitted making "procedural errors" when they filed the paperwork.
Mr Dotcom's legal team have seized on the errors saying the initial asset grab was "unlawful" and, as a result, his property should be returned.
A hearing was scheduled after the government admitted making five separate mistakes on its first court order. During that hearing Judge Potter ruled that the original paperwork had no legal power.
Alongside documents laying bare the mistake, the New Zealand government filed a second request seeking to confiscate the assets already seized during the raid. This paperwork also sought to confiscate more assets uncovered using evidence found during the original raid.
Judge Potter granted this order temporarily and said she would soon rule whether the blunder would mean Mr Dotcom's assets would be returned to him.