John Banks loses costs appeal after seeking $190,000

The Court of Appeal has upheld a High Court decision not to award John Banks court costs.
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The Court of Appeal has upheld a High Court decision not to award John Banks court costs.

Former Auckland mayor John Banks has failed in his attempt to claw back $190,000 after spending years fighting and overturning his conviction for filing a false electoral return. 

Banks eventually had the conviction overturned and sought costs from the High Court at Auckland, but Justice Edwin Wylie declined to award them. 

Banks then appealed that decision to the Court of Appeal, but in a decision released on Tuesday the court said Banks had failed "by some margin" to establish that the witnesses in his trial had committed perjury and deliberately lied in their evidence against him. 

At the appeal hearing, heard in Auckland in February, lawyer David Jones QC alleged Banks' original trial judge, Justice Wylie, had been "duped" by fabricated evidence given by Kim Dotcom and his team. 

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Justice Wylie convicted Banks in 2014 of filing a false electoral return by not disclosing two donations of $25,000 from internet tycoon Kim Dotcom.

Banks claimed he did not know the donations were from Dotcom.

"Any reasonable analysis of the evidence leads to only one conclusion, and that is the evidence of the Dotcom witnesses at the trial was wrong," Jones said at the appeal. 

"The court can't possibly sanction a trial which is based on what is later found to be false evidence and say 'Well, hard luck'."

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Banks was acquitted on appeal in 2015 and in July 2016, Justice Wylie rejected Bank's application to be awarded costs.

The Court of Appeal agreed with Justice Wylie. 

"The proposition is that this court should make a finding for the first time on what is a third appeal hearing in the matter that there is no explanation for incorrect testimony other than perjury..." the judgment said.

"Implicitly the submission asks this court to hold that the core allegation made by Mr Dotcom, rather than the detail surrounding it, is wrong, and that Mr Banks is innocent. This court, when entering the acquittal, did not go that far and there is no basis for us to do so.

"We repeat, as (Justice Wylie) did, it is clear some evidence is incorrect, and there is cause to ask how the error came about. Beyond that one cannot go. It follows that we reject what is in reality the central plank of the appeal."

 - Stuff

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