David Fisher

David Fisher is a senior reporter for the NZ Herald.

Return of seized data on cards as payback

Kim Dotcom. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Kim Dotcom. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Kim Dotcom wants the FBI to return the cloned computers illegally removed from New Zealand, the High Court at Auckland heard yesterday.

The option was one of those raised during a hearing on how the Crown could make good the damage caused by its unlawful search warrant used in the high-profile raid a year ago.

The issue of the cloned computers lies at the root of the court case which led to the search warrant being declared unlawful and the GCSB spying being revealed. Mr Dotcom had been seeking access to the 19 cloned items more than a year ago and the inability to get copies of the data returned led to the judicial review by the High Court of the search warrant.

The warrant was found to be too broad and lacking in detail.

The court then embarked on efforts to fix problems caused with Crown lawyer Kristy McDonald, QC, saying Mr Dotcom and his three co-accused suffered little actual harm as a result of the illegal search and seizure.

The argument was rejected by Paul Davison, QC, who said Mr Dotcom needed material seized during the raid to prepare for the extradition hearing in August. He said it would have been a simple issue to resolve if the FBI had not whisked away clones of computers and other devices while the court was deciding what should be done with the data.

He said the computers contained personal information which was irrelevant to the FBI case.

The FBI had subjected itself to New Zealand law when it applied for a search warrant here.

Its ability to take evidence without having to return it showed "a serious intrusion into the sovereignty of this country", he said.

It meant Mr Dotcom and others had to fight extradition with "their hands tied behind their backs".

- NZ Herald

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