Banks wants prosecution dropped

John Banks
John Banks
Act's sole MP John Banks is applying to have a prosecution laid against him over an alleged false electoral return thrown out because of a lack of evidence.

The former party leader wasn't in the High Court at Auckland today, where his lawyer David Jones, QC, said a 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.

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.

"This is not a great conspiracy as far as Mr Banks is concerned. This is simply a situation where he had signed the return relying on his treasurer [Lance Hutchison], as he has done for many previous elections," Mr Jones said.

"What we have is a document that was prepared without any input from the candidate and is then presented to him as a fait accompli."

Banks "rejected completely" allegations there was a plan to have the donations made anonymously, Mr Jones said.

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

The Crown says that in his police interview, Banks accepted he solicited donations from Mr Dotcom on an anonymous basis but didn't tell Mr Hutchison or other members of his campaign team.

Mr Dacre said Banks also failed to tell them about the SkyCity donation, which Banks allegedly received personally. Banks denies this.

Justice Edwin Wylie reserved his decision.

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.

- By Jimmy Ellingham of APNZ

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