Kim Dotcom. Photo / Charles Howells
The Court of Appeal has ruled that the police's search
warrants on internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom's Coatesville
mansion were valid but "defective in some respects'', although
no miscarriage of justice occurred.
However, the court agreed with a previous High Court decision
that the removal of clones of electronic items to the United
States was not authorised.
Dotcom's legal team have indicated they will challenge the
Court of Appeal's ruling that search warrants on his
Coatesville mansion were valid.
The internet tycoon's US lawyer Ira Rothken said on Twitter
today: "Our Kim Dotcom legal team is reviewing the ruling
made by the Court of Appeal and will likely seek leave to
appeal to the Supreme Court."
In its decision, released today, the Court of Appeal upheld
in part the Attorney General's appeal against the High
Court's decision which found the search invalid.
"In deciding that the search warrants were valid, the Court
of Appeal accepts that they were in form defective in some
respects, but the defects were not sufficient to mean that
the warrants should be treated as nullities,'' the court
"Mr Dotcom and the other respondents would have understood
the nature and scope of the warrants, especially in light of
their arrest warrants, which were not defective, and the
explanations given to them by the police when the properties
were searched. In these circumstances no miscarriage of
In relation to the clones of electronic items removed from
Dotcom's property, the Court of Appeal found this was not
"The court is satisfied that the Solicitor-General's
direction given under the Mutual Assistance in Criminal
Matters Act 1992 applied to the clones and that their removal
was therefore in breach of the terms of the direction.''
The High Court ruling, by Chief High Court Judge Helen
Winkelmann, opened the way for Dotcom to challenge FBI
evidence at his extradition hearing, effectively creating a
mini-trial and making his removal to the United States less
It was thought to be the the final decision in a legal
argument over whether the FBI would have to prove at the
extradition hearing that it has the evidence to back up its
This now appears less certain.
Police executed search warrants on the properties of Dotcom
and his associate Bram van der Kolk in January 2012 and
seized some 135 electronic items.
The warrants were executed at the request of the US
government, which is seeking their extradition to face trial
on a number of alleged criminal offences, including breach of
copyright and money laundering.
The following month, the Solicitor-General gave a direction
that the seized items were to remain in the custody and
control of the Commissioner of Police until further
However, police permitted the FBI to remove clones - copies -
of the items to the US.
Justice Winkelmann ruled that the warrants were invalid
because they were not in sufficiently specific terms and that
the removal of the clones to the US breached the