David Fisher

David Fisher is a senior reporter for the NZ Herald.

Mystery group in Dotcom meeting

Detective Inspector Grant Wormald in the witness box yesterday. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Detective Inspector Grant Wormald in the witness box yesterday. Photo / Sarah Ivey

The involvement of a secret Government organisation before the raid on Kim Dotcom's mansion emerged during cross-examination of a police witness in the High Court at Auckland yesterday.

The witness, Detective Inspector Grant Wormald, refused to name the organisation when questioned about a meeting police attended before the raid.

Dotcom's lawyer, Paul Davison, QC, asked him if an unidentified group of people at the meeting were from the Security Intelligence Service.

Mr Wormald replied that they were not. But asked where they were from, he declined to say, "because of the nature of the organisation".

"They work for the Government."

Mr Wormald oversaw the raid for the Organised and Financial Crime Agency (Ofcanz) after a request from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

He faced the QC's questioning during the High Court hearing into the future of evidence seized with invalid search warrants.

Mr Davison asked about the origin of intelligence used to plan the raid, raising a meeting two months earlier attended by officers from Ofcanz, the police legal section, the Crown Law Office, American authorities and the unnamed group.

The QC also asked about the process needed to involve the police special tactics group, which required an assistant commissioner's approval.

The officer who approved the group's involvement was Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess, also director of Ofcanz.

Mr Davison said this showed the person making the request was also the person who approved the request.

Mr Wormald: "I really don't see there is an issue in that."

He said the special tactics group was called in because police needed to use a helicopter to achieve the main goal of stopping evidence being deleted.

He said officers in the group were the only police in the country trained to work from helicopters. He said a helicopter might also be needed if Dotcom tried to avoid arrest in one of his high-performance cars.

He said the tycoon had twice been stopped speeding - including doing 149km/h in a 50km/h zone.

Mr Wormald said other factors leading to the use of the 30 armed officers in the raid included two photographs of Dotcom with firearms.

He stood by a threat assessment stating Dotcom was violent and had made threats to injure or kill, citing an assault complaint made two weeks before the raid by a former staff member at the Coatesville mansion.

No charges were laid after the complaint, which Mr Davison said involved a disgruntled former staff member being removed from the property by security guards after refusing to leave.

- NZ Herald

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