John Banks

Jumping before being pushed?


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.”

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Don’t do it Banksie



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 »

Attorney-General Chris Finlayson can see no evil, hear no evil, but happy to cover for evil

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 »

Has Amanda Banks exposed the dark underbelly of the Crown Law office?

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 »

Sledge of the Day – John Banks

I'm coming to steal your democracy

Get used to orange

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 »

Not the sort of support you’d really want

Len Brown has stated he supports John Banks…and understands what he went through.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown has come out in support of his former political rival John Banks, saying he understands what he’s been through.

Former ACT MP and Auckland Mayor John Banks’ three-year court battle over allegations of knowingly filing a false electoral return ended on Tuesday with an aquittal ordered by the Court of Appeal.

Banks has likened the case against him to a “jihad”.

Brown, who found himself at the centre of a media maelstrom in 2013 when it emerged he had an extramarital affair, would not be drawn on suggestions Banks could again stand for the Auckland mayoralty.

But he expressed sympathy with what Banks had endured.    Read more »

Banks saga continues: Attorney-General to review what happened

Attorney-General Chris Finlayson is “taking a close look” into the prosecution of John Banks following a ruling which found the Crown misled the court.

Mr Banks was scathing of the conduct of scathing about the conduct of Crown prosecutor Paul Dacre, QC, and Solicitor-General Mike Heron, QC, following a Court of Appeal decision which acquitted him yesterday of filing a false electoral return.

“I was held to account when I was told by the judge, ‘the prisoner can take his place in the dock’. I was held to account…I’m saying the Solicitor-General has a lot to answer for,” Mr Banks said yesterday.

“Withholding evidence from the Court of Appeal is a serious breach of process. Having the evidence in the briefcase but, for whatever reason, not giving it to the court is a very serious error of judgment at the very least. Read more »

Did David “Tainted” Fisher take another bung?

No surprises really who Kim Dotcom ran to, to talk about the John Banks acquittal.

David “Tainted” Fisher taking dictation again from his crooked lying pal in the onesie.

A new version of events has emerged from Kim Dotcom on the John Banks donation saga – and this time, Amanda Banks is nowhere to be seen.

The wife of former Act leader John Banks was heralded as the politician’s saviour today after the Court of Appeal tossed out the case that he had filed a false electoral return.

Yeah whatever, how does fatty German sausage taste when it’s stuck down the back of your throat?   Read more »

Comment of the day

John Boscawen on John Banks’ acquittal in the Court of Appeal:

The real villain is the Crown. The heroes are of course the three courageous Appeal Court judges, lead by the President, who first allowed the appeal in November and ordered a retrial, and who today have recalled their judgement and acquitted John Banks in full. On each occasion the Crown opposed their actions.

Dacre QC, for the Crown, got up in court last November and argued that the new evidence of the American witnesses should not be allowed and that the appeal should be dismissed. Dacre did this knowing that Dotcom now agreed the Americans were at the lunch and that his (Dotcom’s ) original High Court evidence was incorrect. Dacre did not disclose this fact to either Banks’ team or the Appeal Court judges.

This evidence was critical to the original High Court trial in which Judge Wyllie sided with the “Dotcom witnesses’ ” version of events over Mrs. Banks’s version.

Had the appeal court judges not had the courage to allow the appeal in the first place, none of this would have been made public. It was only after the Solicitor General decided to proceed with a new trial was this ( ” the Butler Memorandum” disclosed to the Banks team in February of this year.

John Banks and his family have paid a huge price. It has cost him literally hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend. He had no alternative to resign as a minister when the case was ordered to trial, and no alternative to resign as an MP when first convicted. He has every reason to feel vindicated today.

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Face of the day

Amanda Banks

Amanda Banks

Today’s face of the day is Amanda Banks, whose determination against the odds paid off in the end.

An emotional John Banks has paid tribute to his wife Amanda whose “outstanding detective work” led him to being acquitted of filing a false electoral return.

“She is the hero in this piece of drama,” said Mr Banks. “She was described by the judge as an unreliable witness. But she found the witnesses who would deliver the truth.

“The moral of the story is never underestimate the tenacity of a woman whose honesty and integrity is insulted.”

…The case largely hinged on the credibility of who was right about a contentious lunch at the Dotcom mansion. After Mr Banks’ wife Amanda unearthed new witnesses who corroborated her version of events, Dotcom said there were now two lunches….Mr Banks said the prosecution had cost him his job as the MP for Epsom and a Minister for the Crown, hurt him financially and caused stress to his marriage.

…The parliamentary career of the former Act leader ended after he was convicted in the High Court last year for not disclosing two $25,000 donations from internet mogul Kim Dotcom to his Auckland mayoralty campaign in 2010.

The Court of Appeal then quashed the conviction after the detective work of Mrs Banks, who was stung by the trial judge’s opinion of her credibility when he preferred Mona Dotcom’s evidence about a lunch, which was crucial to the case.

Mrs Banks tracked down two witnesses from America who corroborated her version of events and whose evidence the three appellate justices said was “likely to have changed the outcome of the trial”, if accepted.

-NZ Herald