29 Nov 2013

Dotcom raid 'gross miscarriage of justice'

7:07 am on 29 November 2013

A lawyer for Kim Dotcom has told the Court of Appeal search warrants used to raid the internet entrepreneur's mansion near Auckland resulted in a gross miscarriage of justice.

The Crown is seeking to overturn a High Court ruling that the warrants used during the raid in January 2012 were unlawful because they were too broad and didn't describe the offences properly.

Crown lawyers are challenging Justice Winkelmann's ruling at a hearing and are also arguing against her ruling that sending cloned copies of hard drives seized in the raids to authorities in the United States was unlawful.

Mr Dotcom's lead lawyer Paul Davison, QC, told the appeal court in Wellington on Thursday that the High Court ruling was entirely correct and the warrants were so indiscriminate they should remain invalid.

Mr Davison said the amount of electronic data seized was equivalent to 150 million books of 500 pages each and included items belonging to other members of Mr Dotcom's family.

He said that is an unprecedented breach of privacy and illustrates just how invasive the seizure was.

Crown lawyer David Boldt told the court on Thursday that the warrants were clumsily worded, but there was enough information in the application for the warrants to make it clear what police should be searching for and what the offences were. Mr Boldt says Kim Dotcom made comments during the raid that showed he knew what the police were looking for.

One of the judges hearing the case, Justice Randerson, questioned Mr Boldt about why that information was not included in the warrant itself.

The judges have reserved their decision.

Legal academics say if the Crown appeal succeeds, it could affect Mr Dotcom's claim for compensation against the Government over the raid.

University of Otago law professor Kevin Dawkins said it may also affect what evidence can be presented at Mr Dotcom's extradition hearing next year.