Dotcom raid judge says home can reveal owner's mind

Last updated 11:37 26/08/2014

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Every man's home is his castle but some people's homes look more like castles than others, the Supreme Court hearing the latest legal challenge by Kim Dotcom has been told.

Crown lawyer David Boldt was speaking in support of a decision upholding the validity of the search warrants used to authorise the January 2012 armed raid on Dotcom's rented mansion near Auckland.

The internet millionaire and three of his colleagues have appealed against a Court of Appeal decision that overturned a lower court's decision that said the search warrants were invalid.

United States authorities want Dotcom extradited to stand trial on copyright piracy and other charges.

At the start of the Crown's submissions in the Supreme Court today, Boldt said both sides agreed that the starting point was that every person's home was their castle.

"It's a salient feature of this case that some people's homes look more like castles than others," he said.

But Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias said that was an old-fashioned view when access to a home could give access to the mind of the occupier via electronic data.

The hearing was on the cusp of some challenges in the law that might not have been grappled with in earlier cases, she said.

Boldt said police were entitled to seize electronic items for the contents to be examined.

However, Justice Elias said just because the police were entitled to examine them offsite that was not the end of the inquiry.

The FBI copied the seized information and took it back to the US.

The Court of Appeal said removing the copies was not legally authorised.

But the Crown is standing by the validity of the search warrants.

"These warrants were not perfect but the imperfections in the warrants caused no prejudice to the appellants or indeed to anyone else," Boldt said.

The judge who issued the search warrants had been shown evidence that was a proper basis for signing them. And he had not just issued the warrants on the spot. The information was considered overnight and the warrants were signed the following morning, Boldt said.

In any event, on the morning of the raid Dotcom was first shown an arrest warrant that contained the sort of information and detail that was missing from the search warrants. It came out of Dotcom's own mouth that he had read and understood the arrest warrant to the point of being able to ask questions about it.

He was then shown the search warrants.

The Supreme Court hearing, which began yesterday, is expected to end today. 

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- The Dominion Post

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