NZ High Court Calls Dotcom Seizure Order 'Null and Void'

March 19, 2012 -

According to New Zealand's High Court, Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom may get all of the assets that police seized when they took him into custody in January (thanks to Bear-Dogg-X for the tip). On Friday, High Court Justice Judith Potter declared that the order used to seize Dotcom’s property was "null and void" after finding out that police filed for the wrong kind of court order - an order the High Court says should never been granted in the first place.

Apparently police applied for "a foreign restraining order" granting them permission to seize Dotcom’s property, instead of applying for "an interim restraining order." The latter would have given Dotcom the chance to mount a defense against the charges.

The High Court became aware of this mistake on January 30 when prosecution lawyer Anne Toohey wrote a letter attempting to explain that the wrong order had been applied for and listed five errors with the application. Police commissioner Peter Marshall tried to correct the mistake later after the raid by applying for the correct order and adding the items that had been seized.

While the correct order was eventually filed, Justice Potter called it a "procedural error," which she will make a ruling on. If she rules against law enforcement Dotcom could have his property returned. The Crown is saying that a new order was granted and that should be the end of it, but Dotcom's legal team is saying that the seizures were unlawful. A hearing to decide the issue will take place next week.

Source: NZ Herald by way TorrentFreak


Comments

Re: NZ High Court Calls Dotcom Seizure Order 'Null and Void'

Old to post here, but I talked to a friend of mine who was an attorney in NZ. She thinks this is basically a police screwup, they asked for the wrong thing. BUT that it's likely they'll be allowed to correct it and it won't ultimately prove fatal or even really detrimental to prosecution.

Apparently though there is a significant amount of grumbling in NZ about them "bending over" for American authorities in this case.

Re: NZ High Court Calls Dotcom Seizure Order 'Null and Void'

Hmmmm...interesting.

Re: NZ High Court Calls Dotcom Seizure Order 'Null and Void'

Anyone with some more konwledge of NZ law help me out on this one?

How much of a procedural difference is involved in these two types of orders? Is this something as simple as a paperwork error or fuzzy area of the law? Or is this something more set, where an error like this doesn't happen by accident?

 

I ask because this kind of reminds me of the case against one of the people caught stealing information from Home Depot's open wifi some years back. Rather than use new and poorly tested laws the prosecutors weren't familiar with and the judge didn't even know about, they just got a drug warrant (easier to get and allowed them some extra search and seizure options), and "corrected" the paperwork after they had a better idea what he'd actually stolen.

Re: NZ High Court Calls Dotcom Seizure Order 'Null and Void'

Well, as mentioned in the article, the correct type of warrant allows a defence, and the type they used didn't allow a defence.

I'll let you decide whether it was an honest mistake, or a method of not letting the Kim's lawyers impede the seizure of his 'stolen' property.

(I quote the word stolen, since we all know that any money that comes from obviously â€‹criminal means is the same thing as money thats been laundered, and things bought with laundered money are therefore obviously stolen. Nice legal system you have there, US; coming into my country and trying to get us to enforce your RICO laws, which we don't have; mutter mutter.)

 
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