Banks trial decision next week

AMY MAAS
Last updated 15:10 27/11/2013
John Banks
CHIRS SKELTON/Fairfax NZ

COURT DATE: John Banks speaking outside the High Court in Auckland.

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ACT leader John Banks maintains he "has nothing to fear" as he waits for a decision to determine if he will have to stand trial for electoral fraud.

Banks appeared at the High Court in Auckland this morning seeking a review of a district court decision last month ordering him to stand trial over how donations to his 2010 Auckland mayoral campaign were recorded.

Justice Paul Heath reserved his decision.

After the hearing, Banks said he was not worried as he had done nothing wrong.

"Everyone who knows me knows I've spent a lifetime of doing good, a lifetime of trying to balance my family ledger, a lifetime of making a difference to people and a lifetime of contributing to this country," he said.

"I only do good. I don't do bad things."

Banks resigned as a Government minister last month after Auckland District Court judge Phil Gittos ruled he should face trial over the campaign donations - two of $25,000 from internet mogul Kim Dotcom and a $15,000 cheque from SkyCity - that were recorded as anonymous.

The ruling came after a private prosecution brought by retired accountant Graham McCready, which claimed Banks knew the donations to the mayoral campaign were not made anonymously and designating them as such was against the law.

Banks has pleaded not guilty.

This morning, his lawyer, David Jones QC, told the High Court that the district court decision was "fundamentally flawed" because it implied Banks knew the contents of what was in the electoral return before signing it.

"That knowledge is simply not available on the evidence given in court," Jones said.

He added that in a "perfect world" the content of the return would be checked thoroughly before it was signed.

Banks claimed he had no knowledge donors had been listed as anonymous on a donation-return form because he hadn't read the form before signing it.

In the district court, Dotcom gave evidence that Banks asked him to split a $50,000 donation in two so that each cheque could be listed as anonymous.

He added that when he asked why the donations were to be listed as anonymous, Banks told him: "Kim, if I help you in the future it's better no-one knows about your donation."

As the case was committed for trial, the prosecution is now being headed by Solicitor General Michael Heron QC.

Heron told the court today that there was no significant error of fact.

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