Claire Trevett

Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Banks: Justice system is too slow

Mr Banks said he would never knowingly sign a false election return. Photo / NZ Herald
Mr Banks said he would never knowingly sign a false election return. Photo / NZ Herald

Act leader John Banks says the justice system is taking too long and he should not have to wait until December for a trial date to be set over his donations disclosure from the 2010 mayoral elections.

He said his trial could be held well into next year - an election year. Mr Banks said yesterday that his legal team would seek an urgent judicial review in the High Court of the District Court decision to send him to trial over donations from Kim Dotcom and SkyCity, which were declared as anonymous in his donation return.

"The grounds for that is that simply there are a myriad of factual inaccuracies in the judgment and also, we believe, the legal decisions are flawed."

Asked why he did not simply defend it at a trial if he had "nothing to fear and nothing to hide", he said he had been to the court 10 times.

"We thought this would be well and truly over by now. We want to go to court urgently.

"We are not fearful, but we believe justice is best served swiftly, and waiting until December 17 for a callover for a trial somewhere next year is not an option for me.

"I think I have taken enough and I believe I have the right to be heard in front of a judge."

Mr Banks said he would never knowingly sign a false election return "and I will be exonerated. Why? Because I have done nothing wrong".

Labour leader David Cunliffe said Mr Banks should simply go to trial so the matter would be resolved, rather than risk dragging it out.

"He should face trial as soon as possible. The court has said there is a case to answer, New Zealanders want to know the truth.

"A day or so ago he said he had nothing to fear and nothing to hide. I'd say 'Mr Banks, prove it'."

Wellington man Graham McCready, who brought the private prosecution against Mr Banks, said if the Act leader disagreed with the evidence put forward he should argue his case during the trial.

"The case law is that on being committed to trial, if you disagree with the evidence, you stand trial and if you're convicted then you can file an appeal."

He said a judicial review would be unlikely to prevent the case going ahead.

"The courts will not disrupt a trial for some spurious, vexatious process by the defendant."

Mr McCready has requested that Crown Law take over prosecution of the case. The Solicitor-General is considering the matter.

- NZ Herald

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