Larry Williams: Paltry costs awarded to John Banks a travesty

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John Banks, November 2014. File photo / Dean Purcell
John Banks, November 2014. File photo / Dean Purcell

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.

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.

Debate on this article is now closed.

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