The man taking Auckland mayor Len Brown to court over accepting freebies from hotels says he will also file bribery and corruption charges against Brown's wife.
Retired Wellington accountant Graham McCready filed papers yesterday bringing a private prosecution against the second-term mayor alleging he broke the law by not declaring five free room upgrades from SkyCity for himself and his wife between November 2010 and November 2013.
The SkyCity upgrades were thought to be worth about $4500, McCready said.
McCready said Brown's acceptance of the gifts led to "favourable consideration" towards SkyCity, and he would prosecute the mayor under section 105(1) of the Crimes Act – corruption and bribery of an official.
Today McCready said he would also file charges against Brown's wife, Shan Inglis.
"By accepting these freebies, Ms Inglis became a party to her husband's alleged offending and in the interest of justice she ought to be made accountable," McCready said.
He said prosecution of the mayor's spouse would send a "clear message" to all other partners of Auckland City councillors to either pay back to the donor the value of the gifts received or ensure the councillor declared them on his or her register of interests.
McCready has been criticised for a lack of evidence against Brown, but said Brown's record on dealing with SkyCity over its proposed convention centre during the period would make up "part of the prima facie case" against the mayor.
"We only have to show that there is any evidence at all that would establish a prima facie case and we have several of the elements present," McCready said.
He said it was important Brown be held to account because accepting gifts went to the heart of the democratic system.
"I think what will come out of this, regardless of the outcome, is that that practice will stop," he said.
McCready has a record of successfully bringing private prosecutions against public figures, including a case against MP Trevor Mallard for fighting in public, and charges against ACT leader John Banks for knowingly filing a false electoral return, which have now been taken over by the solicitor-general.
McCready added he was certain the prosecution against Brown would go "a long way down the track".
Brown's media spokesperson said the mayor had no comment on the private prosecution. Brown is still on holiday.
After Brown's re-election last year, and in the wake of revelations about his affair with council junior Bevan Chuang, auditors found he accepted more than $39,000 worth of hotel freebies over a two-year period.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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