Please explain: Police search at Seven West.

A Federal Court hearing into last week's armed raids on Seven West Media's head office will be fast-tracked despite the Australian Federal Police saying it needed more time to prepare.

A Sydney judge accepted argument by Seven West lawyers yesterday that the case should be heard as soon as possible and set down a hearing for next Friday.

It will be heard with a separate action against the AFP by Schapelle Corby's sister Mercedes.

Both are suing the AFP over last Tuesday's controversial raids, which were part of an unsuccessful bid to uncover evidence of a rumoured interview deal between Seven West and the drug smuggler.

More than 30 police spent 12 hours searching Seven West's headquarters and the offices of the Sunday Night program and Pacific Magazines.

The office of Mercedes Corby's lawyer was also searched and documents seized.

Ms Corby's lawyer Sue Chrysanthou told the Federal Court the material seized was "well outside of the ambit of the warrant".

She said Ms Corby wanted an assurance the documents would not be examined while the raid's legitimacy was in question.

Seven West launched its action after the AFP refused to reveal the grounds under which it obtained its search warrants.

It wants the grounds reviewed, the warrants set aside and the material seized returned.

Seven West lawyer Andrew Bell told the court people had been defamed, referring to media reports of AFP paperwork that wrongly accused a lawyer of being suspected of a crime.

The AFP has apologised, blaming a "word-processing error".

AFP lawyer Geoffrey Watson told the court there was a misconception that the AFP accused individuals of a crime when it secured a search warrant.

"They were not nominated in the material that was before the magistrate," he said.

But Judge Jayne Jagot said documents "clearly identified them as suspects".

After more than a week of refusing to reveal what it told a Sydney magistrate to get its search warrants, the AFP said yesterday it would not oppose Seven West's lawyers having access to the material.

It is expected to be revealed in court on Friday.

The West Australian

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