Police face independent probe over Banks

HAMISH RUTHERFORD
Last updated 17:03 17/06/2014

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Police are to be independently investigated over their decision not to prosecute ex-MP John Banks over his electoral filings.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) launched an investigation after Banks, who resigned last week, was found guilty of knowingly filing an incorrect electoral return, in relation to two donations from controversial German internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom back in 2010.

Police decided in 2012 not to prosecute Banks, citing a lack of evidence, prompting retired Wellington accountant Graham McCready to launch a private prosecution that led to Banks being found guilty. 

While he has not been convicted, with sentencing to take place on August 1, Banks has resigned from Parliament.

Last week the IPCA said it was keeping a watching brief on the matter, but in a letter to Wellington resident Roger Brooking today, the organisation said it had decided to take the matter further.

“The authority has now...decided to independently investigate this matter,” the IPCA’s manager of investigations and reviews, Sarah Goodall, wrote.

Brooking wrote to the IPCA in March urging the authority to investigate the allegations against Banks, saying it seemed obvious to him that Banks had been deceptive and deliberately breached the law.

"Every step along the way made it clearer and clearer that the police had failed to do their job," said Brooking.

"If you consider that if police had investigated at the time, which is now two years ago and Mr Banks had been prosecuted and found guilty, he would have been out of Parliament two years ago," Brooking said.

"That would have led to a by-election, so I'm quite concerned that there are political consequences to the fact that the police failed to prosecute.''

Police were not immediately available for comment.

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