On 20 January 2012 the police executed search warrants at the properties of the first and fourth respondents, Messrs Kim Dotcom and Bram van der Kolk. Acting under the warrants, which had been obtained the previous day from a District Court Judge, the police seized more than 135 electronic items, including laptops, computers, portable hard drives, flash storage devices and servers, containing an estimated 150 terabytes of data. 
The search warrants were obtained under the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 1992 (the MACMA) at the request of the Department of Justice of the United States of America which is seeking the extradition of the four respondents to face charges in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia of criminal copyright offending and money laundering involving substantial sums of money. 
The police also obtained warrants for the arrest of the four respondents and they were arrested at the same time. The second and third respondents were guests of Mr Dotcom when they were arrested. 
Following the seizure of the items under the search warrants, the Solicitor-General, acting on behalf of the Attorney-General, directed under s 49 of
MACMA that the items “remain in the custody and control of the Commissioner of
Police until further direction from [the Crown Law] Office”.
Without further direction from the Crown Law Office, the Commissioner of Police permitted the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (the FBI) to make forensic copies (clones) of some of the electronic items seized during the searches and to remove one set of the clones to the United States. 
In High Court judicial review proceedings, the four respondents successfully challenged the validity of the search warrants and the removal of the clones from