Banks prosecution put off till next year

Last updated 15:46 11/12/2012
John Banks
A private prosecution against ACT leader John Banks has been put off till February.

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A private prosecution against ACT leader John Banks over donations from Kim Dotcom has been put off until next year for several applications about evidential documents to be heard.

Banks had already been excused from attending Wellington District Court, where a charge of filing a false electoral return was called for the first time.

However, retired accountant Graham McCready, who brought the unusual prosecution, was there and had several applications he wanted the court to hear.

One was for disclosure of an electoral document while another was for disclosure from police.

Along with those was a challenge from Banks over the validity of the summons and whether any charges should have been laid in Auckland.

Judge Jill Moss told Mr McCready the court had no jurisdiction to hear anything about disclosure of information from police and he would have to go to the ombudsman over Official Information Act requests.  She pointed out he had been sent a letter telling him that. She also said she was not willing to withdraw the information against Banks and would have to think about whether Mr McCready could lay another in its place.

Judge Moss told him that the application for an electoral document seemed like a fishing trip and suggested he should go to Auckland to see it.

Mr McCready said he had been allowed to view it but not copy it or even take notes.

The judge remanded all matters until February for hearing.

A press sheet listed John Archibald Banks as being charged on or about December 9, 2010, that he knowingly filed a false return for the Auckland 2010 supercity election.

Banks has not pleaded to the charge.  The offence carries a maximum penalty of two years' imprisonment.
Internet mogul Kim Dotcom says he gave Banks $50,000, in two $25,000 cheques, towards his 2010 Auckland mayoralty campaign.

Police files revealed Banks was handed a $15,000 cheque by SkyCity executives in a branded envelope. All three donations were registered as anonymous.

Police investigated the donations but said that, although local electoral laws were broken, they did not have enough evidence to prosecute.

McCready, who was convicted of filing false tax claims in 2009, previously brought a private prosecution after Labour MP Trevor Mallard had a punchup in 2007 with National MP Tau Henare.

Mr Mallard was convicted of fighting in a public place and ordered to pay $500 to a drug and alcohol programme.

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- The Dominion Post

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