Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the APNZ News Service office in Wellington.

John Banks excused from court appearance

Act MP John Banks and Kim Dotcom. Photo / Jodi Rose/Supplied
Act MP John Banks and Kim Dotcom. Photo / Jodi Rose/Supplied

Act MP John Banks will have to wait to find out if he will be required to give evidence under oath about his involvement in the Kim Dotcom election donation saga.

A private prosecution was brought against the Act leader by retired accountant and political activist Graham McCready.

Mr Banks was summoned to Wellington District Court after a judge earlier found there could be enough evidence to allow the prosecution over allegations he filed a false electoral return for his 2010 Auckland mayoral campaign.

His appearance today was excused.

McCready hoped the court would release Mr Banks' statements to police over the donations - statements held back when a police report into the matter was made public in September.

But in court Judge Gill Moss said the court did not deal with Official Information Act matters.

"You need to do your research McCready, we're not here to run your case for you."

She also criticised mistakes McCready had made in his submissions to her.

"It took longer than it should have for me to work out what you were saying."

McCready also applied to have Mr Banks' electoral return published.

He said the electoral officer was not able to release the document but he hoped the court could compel its release.

Judge Moss asked him which legislation would compel a public official to release an electoral return to the court.

McCready said he would need an adjournment to find that information out. He declined to drop the issue.

Judge Moss said he could have until January 10 to file submissions on the matter.

She remanded Mr Banks at large until next February.

Police investigated whether Mr Banks knowingly declared two donations of $25,000 from internet tycoon Kim Dotcom as anonymous, and found there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.

McCready's submission relied in part on sworn statements to police, released after the investigation, including Dotcom's insistence that Mr Banks asked him to split a $50,000 donation in two so it could be declared as anonymous.

Outside court supporters held up signs calling for Mr Banks' dismissal from the Government and a protest against him is planned for outside Parliament tomorrow.

Three years ago McCready was convicted of filing false claims.

In 2009, he pleaded guilty to filing about $49,000 in false tax claims for clients and was sentenced to six months' home detention.

The private prosecution was the second he has brought against an MP.

In 2007, he brought a case against Trevor Mallard after the Labour MP lashed out at National MP Tau Henare outside Parliament's debating chamber. Mr Mallard was convicted of fighting in a public place and ordered to pay $500 to a Salvation Army drug and alcohol programme.

- APNZ

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