TV3 banned from showing Banks trial scenes

John Banks.
John Banks.
TV3 news is no longer allowed to show footage from John Banks' trial for filing a false electoral return, and the network will apologise to the Act MP in tonight's 6pm news for airing a clip that appeared to show him eating something he picked out of his ear.

The footage was shot last Thursday when the High Court at Auckland was played an audio recording of a police interview with Banks in June 2012 and aired on that night's 6pm news.

It had since been posted on Youtube.

Justice Edwin Wylie, who is hearing the case without a jury, today summoned TV3 to explain the use of the footage.

TV3's lawyer Clare Bradley said the decision was made at "producer level", but the network now conceded it was a "bad judgment call".

Justice Wylie agreed and revoked TV3's right to shoot or air any more pictures from the trial, his delivery of the verdict and sentencing if Banks is found guilty.

He was also concerned the pictures were shot outside the first 15 minutes of the day, when television cameras are allowed to film the accused at a trial.

"I do consider this a serious breach of the in-house guidelines. The issue that concerned me the most was that the footage was used in a way that I do not consider to be fair and balanced, and it seems to me this footage was used out of context."

When Ms Bradley offered an apology to Justice Wylie and "the system", Banks called out that he should receive an apology as well.

He also said an apology should be aired on the news.

Ms Bradley said two matters were considered when it was decided to air the footage.

"It was certainly our view that there was no fair trial issue in relation to this footage," she said.

"Considerable weight was given, I guess, to the fact that Mr Banks has been in the public eye for a considerable number of years and could be easily described as a robust individual who would not be impacted by this footage."

Ms Bradley added that the footage was shot by a TVNZ cameraman, as the television networks share in-court filming.

TVNZ reporter Ruth Wynn-Williams said while that was true, each reporter had a device to record footage.

Banks is defending a charge of filing a false electoral return for his failed bid at the Auckland mayoralty in 2010 where he allegedly knowingly received political donations from Kim Dotcom and SkyCity that were recorded as anonymous.

The allegations against Banks, the Act party's sole MP, relate to two $25,000 donations from Megastuff Ltd on Dotcom's behalf in June 2010 and $15,000 from SkyCity in May that year.

 

Good judgement

This is a good precedent. Why are court trials filmed anyway? Will Family Court proceedings be filmed and put on the Internet, in the same way?

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