Dotcom house raid dissected in court

IAN STEWARD
Last updated 17:52 08/08/2012

Aerial footage shows police surveying the Dotcom mansion from a helicopter ahead of the January 2012 raid.

Kim Dotcom
Reuters
MEGAEXIT: Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom leaves the High Court in Auckland on August 7.

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The raid on Kim Dotcom's mansion has been dissected in minute detail with video shots from a police helicopter and CCTV footage from the internet mogul's house played to the High Court.

CCTV footage showed two helicopters landing in quick succession at the sprawling home, formerly known as the Chrisco mansion, north of Auckland, in January. 

Five armed men exited each helicopter and then three vans and a car quickly arrived disgorging more armed men, some with dogs.

The leader of the elite police Special Tactics Group, who has name suppression, told the court the High Court at Auckland today that the door to the house was unlocked.

He went upstairs and another team member knocked down the door to Dotcom's bedroom.

The officer said Dotcom was not there but his bed was warm to the touch, indicating he had just left. 

He said a "dumb waiter" style elevator in the room was suspected of being a hiding place.

Sledgehammers and then a mechanical saw were used to breach the walls.

The officer said he spoke to one of Dotcom's bodyguards Wayne Tempero, who had been apprehended in the courtyard, about where Dotcom was hiding.

Tempero showed him where a safe room was accessed from the back of a wardrobe.

The officer said Dotcom was sitting behind a pillar in the safe room with his back to police.

A loaded firearm was across the room from him.

Police pulled Dotcom to the ground into a spread-eagle position and one of the officers stood on Dotcom's hand.

Dotcom's lawyer Paul Davison, QC, suggested standing on the hand was intentional but the officer denied this.

He also denied he was shouting and was "hyped-up" as Tempero had said.

Yesterday, officers said pictures of the Megaupload millionaire carrying a shotgun were part of the reason the country's elite police team were brought in to arrest him.

There were "underlying" suspicions of use of firearms at the house and also of "over-zealous" protection staff.

Documents assessing police options for the raid weighed the risks against "perception of heavy-handed New Zealand Police action", the court heard.

The warrants issued for the raid have since been ruled illegal by Justice Helen Winkelmann.

Lawyers are now going over what happened on the day of the raid in the hope it will help determine what could legally be done to remedy the situation for Dotcom.

US authorities claim Dotcom and his three co-accused - Mathias Ortmann, Fin Batato and Bram van der Kolk - used the Megaupload website and its affiliated sites to knowingly make money from pirated movies and games.

They are facing copyright infringement and money laundering charges, and extradition from New Zealand.

On his way to court this morning Dotcom had a minor accident. He posted pictures of the crash on Twitter.

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