Lawyers slam Dotcom raid

Last updated 15:45 25/08/2014

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Kim Dotcom and others at his mansion were subjected to a search authorised by a warrant that was not written on the correct form let alone containing the correct substance, his lawyer says.

In the Supreme Court today the internet entrepreneur's lawyers are challenging the validity of the warrant a judge signed in January 2012 to authorise the raid carried out at the behest of US authorities.

The FBI wants to extradite Dotcom to face copyright piracy and other criminal charges.

Since the raid on his mansion Dotcom has been fighting the proceedings on several fronts and the extradition hearing is not due to take place until next year.

One of the legal challenges has been to the validity of the search warrant issued by a judge. The High Court found the warrant was invalid but that was overturned in the Court of Appeal. In Wellington today and tomorrow Dotcom and three of his colleagues are appealing against that finding.

Dotcom's lawyer, Paul Davison, QC, said the role of a judge, or court registrar, was vital in issuing a warrant. They stood between the citizen and the state in ensuring that the intrusion on privacy was limited to what was reasonably necessary to enforce the law and preserve and protect the rights of citizens.

As well as Dotcom and his family being affected, during the raid staff living in a part of the house separate from the family were woken and a "gun put under their nose".

Police needed clear guidance on what was within the scope of a warrant and what was not able to be seized. A warrant had to have limits but the one for the Dotcom raid did not, he said.

It was so imprecise as to be meaningless, especially contrasted to the information that was available.

It was not even written on the correct form for a warrant issued to help a foreign power.

How the form looked was less important than what it said, but the correct form was a way of including a level of detail that was required, Davison said.

Dotcom's right to copies of the information seized is still being argued and Davison said the Supreme Court's decision on the current case may help finalise that issue.

The hearing is continuing.

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- The Dominion Post

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