Character witnesses vouch for John Banks

Last updated 11:55 27/05/2014
John Banks leaving court may 27
PETER MEECHAM
LEAVING COURT: ACT MP John Banks leaves the Auckland High Court after the day's proceedings in the private prosecution over donations to his mayoral campaign fund.

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John Banks received SkyCity's campaign donation in a sealed envelope and passed it directly on to a staffer, a court has heard.

Banks' defence concluded today with evidence from 2010 mayoralty campaign staffer Scott Campbell, Banks' media advisor, and a host of character witnesses testifying to the politician's good character.

Banks, the Epsom MP and former leader of the ACT Party, is on trial in the High Court in Auckland for "transmitting a return of electoral expenses knowing that it is false in a material particular".

The charge relates to three entries in the electoral returns for his failed 2010 Auckland super-city mayoral campaign.

The donations were recorded as anonymous, but the Crown says Banks knew two donations of $25,000 each were from internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom and one of $15,000 was from SkyCity.

Banks denies the charges.

Campbell testified today that he received SkyCity's cheque from Banks in a sealed envelope.

He said Banks came into campaign headquarters, handed him a SkyCity envelope and said "give this to Lance" (the campaign treasurer).

Character witnesses David Hay, Banks' former deputy mayor, businessman Richard Langridge, former Banks business partner Patricia White, and Dame Jenny Gibbs, testified that Banks was an honest man.

John Jamieson, police commissioner when Banks was Minister of Police in the early 1990s, said Banks was enthusiastic and keen on operational policing, and he went to Aramoana with Jamieson when a gunman shot 13 people dead.

Banks' best friend of more than 50 years, Raymond Wilson, the publican of the Cavalier Tavern, said Banks was a good and loyal friend and he trusted him "totally".

Closing addresses will be made on Thursday.

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