Banks to face court in Dotcom saga

ANDREA VANCE
Last updated 13:47 19/04/2013
John Banks
SUMMONED: Act MP John Banks

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The Dotcom donations scandal continues to haunt John Banks as a judge has again ordered him to appear in court.

District Court Judge Ian Mill today issued a judgement saying there was sufficient evidence to issue a summons.

Retired accountant Graham McCready has launched a private prosecution on a charge of knowingly filing a false election return. He has been convicted of tax fraud and is facing a charge of blackmail.

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom says he gave Banks $50,000, in two $25,000 cheques, towards his mayoral campaign. Banks had lunch at his mansion, flew there in a helicopter, and attended his birthday party.

Police files also revealed Banks was handed a $15,000 cheque by SkyCity executives in a branded envelope.

All three donations were registered as anonymous.

McCready said he wants Dotcom to appear in court as a witness "to refresh Mr Banks' memory lapses about certain helicopter flights and his knowledge that Banks knew the Dotcom donations were not anonymous."

Banks has maintained he has nothing to hide over the donations.

This is the second time Judge Mill has asked Banks to appear in court over the matter. He was due in court in December, but Banks' lawyers objected to the validity of the summons.

McCready revised his case and in February it was agreed the matter be transferred to Auckland District Court.

Banks' lawyers argued the charge had little prospect of success, would waste court resources and result in a "media circus".

But Mill disagreed there is no prospect of success.

The judge added: "The likelihood of media interest cannot be a ground for declining to allow a prosecution to proceed."

The offence carries a maximum penalty of two years' imprisonment.

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