John Banks claims he has new evidence he will take to the
Court of Appeal that will exonerate him.
Speaking outside the High Court at Auckland this morning
after he was convicted and sentenced for filing a false
electoral return, Mr Banks reiterated his innocence.
"I would never knowingly file a false electoral return. For
all of my faults, I don't file false anything," he said.
Banks said he respected the court and the judge's finding
before dropping the bombshell that there was further
information that was not presented during the trial.
"Since the finding of guilt fresh, new, unimpeachable,
water-tight evidence has emerged. That new evidence
completely contradicts much of the evidence given in the
court in front of the judge on which I was convicted," Banks
"We're looking forward to taking that ... to the Court of
Appeal and in the process of time, that will completely
exonerate me of these charges."
He would not go into detail about the new evidence saying it
could jeopardise the appeal.
"We did not know the name or where these people were. It's
only recently that they've come forward," he said.
In court, Banks accepted a conviction for filing a false
electoral return was sentenced to community detention and
It was expected his lawyer David Jones QC would argue for a
discharge but he indicated immediately that would not be the
Accordingly, Justice Edwin Wylie convicted the Former Act MP
and Mayor of Auckland.
The offence carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison
or a fine of up to $10,000 but the judge said the offending
was not at the upper end of the scale.
"You failed to disclose only two donations. There is nothing
to suggest it was a pattern of offending," Justice Wylie
But it was not a victimless crime, he said, the victim of the
offending was the community at large.
Banks received a term of two months' community detention,
during which he will have to observe a curfew between 7pm and
7am for four nights a week.
He will also have to complete 100 hours of community work.
Mr Jones said the guilty verdict alone had an impact on his
client and Banks maintained his innocence, calling the
judge's verdict "bewildering".
Banks' wife had since moved to Central Otago because of the
public scrutiny but continued to support him, the court was
During an interview with a probation officer Banks called the
fiasco a "process of incremental humiliation".
Both Crown lawyer Paul Dacre and Mr Jones agreed there were
many personal mitigating factors for 68-year-old Banks.
"It can only be described as an aberration in a career by Mr
Banks that's one of great public service over several
decades," the defence lawyer said.
"[The offending] must be seen in that context." However, Mr
Dacre called the offending "premeditated" and said it
happened at the height of the failed mayoral campaign because
the donation was politically sensitive.
The Crown said the starting point should be a sentence of
imprisonment before the judge turned his mind to relevant
Mr Dacre accepted a community-based sentence could be
But Mr Jones argued a fine was the only appropriate sentence
seeing as it was, in his submission, "the lowest level of
"It can't possibly attract a term of imprisonment as a start
point, an end point or any point or any point," he said.
After a private prosecution brought by Wellington accountant
Graham McCready the Crown argued Banks' failed mayoral
campaign received two $25,000 donations from Megastuff Ltd on
Kim Dotcom's behalf in June 2010 and $15,000 from SkyCity in
May that year.
At a judge-alone trial in June, Justice Wylie ruled the
charge in relation to the SkyCity donation was not proven,
but he was sure the return was false when it came to the
Upon finding Banks guilty, the judge said he found internet
mogul Dotcom, his estranged wife Mona and his former security
guard Wayne Tempero, who all gave evidence, to be reliable
witnesses and he was satisfied there was a discussion about a
donation when Banks visited Dotcom's Coatesville mansion in
Justice Wylie rejected assertions from Mr Jones that the
Dotcom witnesses had orchestrated their evidence as part of a
conspiracy theory to bring down the Government.
After being found guilty in June, Banks stepped down from his
role in Parliament as an MP for Act.
Mr McCready has applied for costs against Banks, which would
be opposed by the former politician.
Banks is currently working as a project manager and said
there were numerous opportunities for future employment
restructuring small businesses.
Outside court Mr McCready announced: "The universe is
unfolding as it should."
He said his celebration would be low key - doing the laundry
and having a spot of lunch with a friend.
Mr McCready hoped it would put the focus on why police didn't
prosecute Banks in the first place.
He was claiming $45,000 in costs which, if his application
was successful, would go to charity.
"I've been doing it for 50 years, it's nothing new. I don't
go out looking for them, people phone me," he said.
Labour's candidate for Epsom Michael Wood said it was time
for the Act party to apologise to people in the electorate.
"Act have embarrassed Epsom time and again ... they have no
respect for the people of Epsom who have been embarrassed by
this circus of a party. Act should immediately apologise," he
said in a statement.