Earlier today Kim Dotcom told a New Zealand court how police assaulted him during the raid on his Coatesville mansion in January this year. The Megaupload founder said after hearing a commotion downstairs he fled to a safe room and waited to be found but was eventually assaulted by the police. “And then they were all over me,” he said. “I had a punch to the face, boots kicking me down to the floor.”
Kim Dotcom has been giving evidence in the Auckland High Court today. The hearing, which is scheduled to run for three days, follows on from a court ruling in June that found the search warrants used to conduct the January raid against the Megaupload founder’s home were invalid. This week his lawyers will argue that the raid was unreasonable.
Dotcom told the court that at the time of the raid he was in bed installing a Windows update on his computer. Dotcom said he heard a helicopter outside and thought it may have been some guests arriving for his birthday celebrations. However, he realized that something was wrong when the downdraft of the helicopter’s rotors started kicking up stones onto the glass of his Coatesville mansion.
After hearing banging on his door, Dotcom said he fled to a pre-arranged safe room in the house. He stayed in this “red room” until police arrived.
“I heard loud banging noises. I was just scared and worried. I thought I’d better wait for them to come to me rather than popping out and scaring someone who might shoot me,” he said.
Dotcom said he had access to a firearm in the “red room” but in the interests of safety and to simply ward off would-be attackers rather inflicting more permanent damage, the first two rounds in the gun were rubber bullets.
Dotcom denied allegations he refused to cooperate with police and told the court that he had his arms in a “surrender” position when the police entered the room. Apparently that passive attitude didn’t help.
“And then they were all over me. I had a punch to the face, boots kicking me down to the floor, a knee to the ribs. One man was standing on my hand,” he said, added that he was then pushed to the floor and his wrists cable-tied. “It was really tight. I was screaming,” he said.
Dotcom told the court that the force used was completely unnecessary and if only the police had asked he would have complied straight away.
“If someone had knocked on the door and said they had a document with charges I would have let them in,” he said.
The hearing, which is due to last until Thursday, will also hear from New Zealand’s Special Tactics Group, the elite anti-terror force that carried out the raid against the Dotcom mansion.
However, whether their conduct will be revealed by the images and CCTV footage captured on that January day remains to be seen – according to Stuff.nz the New Zealand prosecutors are seeking to have all footage from the raid suppressed. It is believed that a transcript of police-recorded audio will be allowed.
Kim Dotcom and his alleged co-conspirators were due to appear in court on August 6 in an extradition hearing scheduled to last 3 weeks. However, due to legal issues the hearing has now been delayed until March 2013.