Banks loses bid to have prosecution thrown out

ACT MP John Banks. Photo / Mark Mitchell
ACT MP John Banks. Photo / Mark Mitchell

An application by Act MP John Banks to have a prosecution laid against him over an alleged false electoral return thrown out because of a lack of evidence has been rejected.

Banks is alleged to have knowingly received political donations from internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom and SkyCity that were recorded in official returns as anonymous.

The allegations relate to two $25,000 donations from Mr Dotcom and a $15,000 donation from SkyCity.

The former party leader wasn't in the High Court at Auckland on Friday when his lawyer David Jones, QC, said the charge against Banks should be dismissed.

The Crown could not prove he had knowledge of any "falsity" in an electoral return filed over his unsuccessful tilt at the Auckland Super City mayoralty in 2010, Mr Jones said.

Prosecutor Paul Dacre, QC, had told the court on Friday that said the Crown would argue that Banks knew about donations from Mr Dotcom and SkyCity because he had discussions with them.

In his decision released today, Justice Edwin Wylie said the ultimate resolution of this case must depend on the evidence, how it comes out at trial, and on the court's view of the reliability and credibility of the various witnesses.

"Whether or not the inference the Crown will be asking me to draw should be drawn, can only be determined following a full trial, when all of the evidence is available and it has been fully tested and explored," Justice Wylie said in dismissing the application for a discharge.

Banks is scheduled to face trial in May. After the matter was set down for trial Banks sought an unsuccessful judicial review of that decision.

- APNZ

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