“Certain matters left outstanding needed to be tidied up and this was one of them.”
Tracy Watkins has written an opinion piece that is long on wishful thinking and short on logic.
Anyone who thinks John Key’s backdown over the teapot tapes isn’t a huge deal to him personally clearly can’t have been on the election trail at the time.
Key’s temper is slow to the boil and the teapot tapes bombshell was the first time any of us who followed his political career had seen him truly angry.
There is only one other occasion during which most of us can recall Key really losing his rag like he did over the teapot tapes and that was a whole election campaign later, the day after Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics landed.
Key’s clipped answers to questions on Monday about his legal settlement with cameraman Bradley Ambrose is an indication of just how deep his feelings still run over the teapot tape saga.
So no $1.25m for Ambrose then.
John Key has conceded a camera operator did not deliberately record a conversation he had with John Banks during the 2011 election campaign, which became known as the ‘teapot tape’.
Bradley Ambrose decided to take Mr Key to court over the Prime Minister’s comments, which included comparing Mr Ambrose’s actions to the discredited News of the World newspaper.
The two parties have now reached a settlement, meaning the case will not go to trial. Mr Key says a payment was made, but won’t reveal how much. Mr Ambrose had sued for $1.25 million.
“These comments caused harm to Mr Ambrose personally and professionally,” the joint statement reads.
“The comments reflected Mr Key’s honestly held views at that time. Mr Key and Mr Ambrose have met to discuss the events of that day.
“Mr Key now accepts that Mr Ambrose did not deliberately record the conversation, or otherwise behave improperly.
“Mr Ambrose now accepts that Mr Key believed that the conversation had been deliberately recorded at the time Mr Key made his statements.” Read more »
Larry Williams has a crack at the system over the John Banks case.
The justice system stinks at times – with what I call trumped up charges against John Banks being a case in point.
Mr Banks was acquitted of electoral fraud after the conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal.
The case related to donations Mr Banks received from Kim Dotcom for his 2010 mayoral campaign, which the Crown alleged were not disclosed on his electoral return.
The Court of Appeal overturned its earlier decision for a retrial after the Crown’s key witness, Kim Dotcom, was found to have completely contradicted what he said at trial – the defence presented statements by two Americans that destroyed the Crown case. Mr Dotcom’s changed version of events was withheld from the court by the Crown.
I’d bet that there is more to come as a result of the non-disclosure of key evidence.
Yes, there will be more to come.
The evidence against Mr Banks was flimsy. Police investigated for six months and recommended that he had no case to answer.
Then along came serial litigant Graham McCready with a private prosecution and the Solicitor General – foolishly in my opinion – pursued the case. To me, it looked like a boneheaded vindictive crusade to secure Mr Banks’ scalp.
I think it’s beyond belief the Solicitor General proceeded with the case.
The upshot was Mr Banks got totally screwed over. He and his wife were put through hell. His honesty was impugned. Some journalists were baying for blood and were clearly enjoying it. Political opponents labelled him “corrupt” and a “fraudster”. Mr Banks resigned from his ministerial posts. The case took a terrible toll.
Yesterday, Mr Banks had another kick in the guts. He’s been awarded $66,200 in costs from the Crown for the Court of Appeal hearings that resulted in his acquittal. He has further application for costs of $190,000 for the earlier trial.
These are paltry sums compared to his actual costs, I’d say . As a guesstimate I’d say his costs were in the vicinity of a million dollars.
That’s justice New Zealand style, folks.
The fact that the Media party participated in the shenanigans should be to their enduring shame…of course, journalists (and I use the term loosely) like David Fisher have no shame. If he wasn’t already known as ‘Tainted’ Fisher, I’d start calling him ‘No Shame’ Fisher.
Justice Wylie should also apologise…but I suspect he won’t. His colleagues, though, will forever snigger at the Northern Club that he fell for the rubbish of Dotcom and his missus.
– NZ Herald
John Banks has got some justice at last, though not nearly enough to cover the expenses of clearing his name against a campaign of spite run by Dotcom, David Fisher and the Solicitor-General’s own office.
Former politician John Banks has been awarded $66,200 in costs from the Crown for the Court of Appeal hearings that resulted in his acquittal for his electoral return for mayoral donations.
Mr Banks said a further application for costs of $190,000 had now been lodged in the High Court for the earlier trial which convicted him of electoral fraud before that conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal.
The case related to donations Mr Banks received from Kim Dotcom for his 2010 mayoral campaign which were not disclosed on his electoral return and which Mr Banks claimed were anonymous.
The decision by the Court of Appeal to overturn its earlier decision for a retrial meant Mr Banks was acquitted of filing a false return.
Attorney General Chris Finlayson confirmed the Court of Appeal costs had now been resolved.
Richard Harman reports via his email newsletter:
Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson QC has announced that Solicitor-General Michael Heron QC has decided to to step down from the role after serving three of his five years appointment. Both Mr Finlyason and State Services Commissioner Ian Rennie have praised Mr Heron for his work. But in May Court of Appeal acquitted former Auckland Mayor and MP John Banks for allegedly filing a false electoral return relating to the 2010 Auckland mayoralty race.Mr Banks’ acquittal was the result of the Court of Appeal finding that the Crown had withheld evidence form the defence leading to a miscarriage of justice.Mr Banks said that “Some of the mistakes made by the judiciary going through were outrageous” and “the solicitor-general has a lot to answer for.”
John Banks has refused to say whether he is considering running for the Auckland mayoralty next year, but has not ruled the possibility out.
“That’s a long way off – I’ve got to get to next year, you know,” Mr Banks told TV3’s Paul Henry show this morning. Read more »
The Attorney-General says there was nothing wrong with Crown Law’s conduct throughout the court case against former ACT leader John Banks.
Mr Banks was acquitted in May of charges relating to falsely declaring donations from Kim Dotcom over his failed Auckland mayoralty bid in 2010 and the Court of Appeal ruling he shouldn’t be retried.
Following the ruling, he called for Solicitor-General Mike Heron QC to stand down so an inquiry could be held into the case, which he called a three-year “jihad”.
Chris Finlayson, the minister responsible for the Crown Law Office, said he’d take a “careful look” at Crown Law’s management of the case.
Initially, the private prosecution was taken by Graham McCready, and the decision to go to trial was an independent judicial one, Mr Finlayson says.
“Apart from limited involvement at various stages of the case, Crown Law briefed an independent barrister to conduct the prosecution. It did so for a number of reasons, including the involvement of Mr Dotcom as a witness and the politically controversial nature of the case. Read more »
John Banks has done us a favour and shown our justice system to be truly broken. But what chance would he have had if he had been a young man, down and out, up against the system, or even an average person or, indeed, an ordinary MP?
He or she would have had no chance.
As it was, Banks had hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend.
And spend it he had to — to clear his name.
He had a wife who, stung by Justice Edwin Wylie refusing to believe her testimony, hunted down the key witnesses who turned the case around.
The Crown didn’t do that. The fancy lawyers didn’t.
Banks was, of course, a Government Minister, a party leader and a critical vote in Parliament.
It was never an everyday case and we would expect the Crown prosecution to be at its very best and most professional.
The real problem here is that we can’t step beyond the idea of mere incompetence, and instead we are tempted to infer political motives. And if that’s the case, is it limited to the QCs involved, or were they acting on advice? Read more »
John Banks has responded to the challenge of Kim Dotcom for a public debate:
Banks on Thursday said he would agree to a debate if it was held at the Radisson Hotel in Los Angeles, in the United States.
“I’ll pay the airfares,” he said. Read more »