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MP John Banks ‘disappointed’ by guilty verdict

New Zealand MP John Banks says he’s “disappointed” he’s been found guilty of falsely declaring two $NZ25,000 ($A23,274) donations from Kim Dotcom as anonymous after his failed 2010 Super City mayoral bid.


john banks 8But serial prosecutor Graham McCready, who set the prosecution in motion, says seeing Banks found guilty was his “finest hour” in years of taking private prosecutions – and even sang outside the court.

Banks was emotionless when Justice Edwin Wylie read out his verdict at the High Court at Auckland on Thursday.

Banks had kept vital information about Mr Dotcom’s donations from his campaign treasurer Lance Hutchison, which meant his election return couldn’t be accurate, Justice Wylie found.

And Banks had either known the return was false, or intentionally didn’t read it to stay ignorant of the mistakes, Justice Wylie said.

He dismissed the defence’s theory that the Dotcom witnesses were lying as part of a conspiracy to bring down Banks and the government, instead finding their evidence reliable.

But Justice Wylie wasn’t convinced beyond reasonable doubt that Banks had knowingly filed a false return about the SkyCity donation.

He said Banks knew about the $NZ15,000 cheque, but said Mr Hutchison could have made the decision to declare it as anonymous without Banks’ knowledge.

The crime carries a possible sentence of up to two years in prison or a fine of up to $NZ10,000.

If he’s convicted at his August sentencing, Banks will be forced to resign as Epsom MP.

Justice Wylie has asked that a report on a possible home detention sentence be prepared.

Banks will be sentenced on August 1.

Satirical Toon by Mark Winter, an award-winning New Zealand cartoonist, designer and film maker and his pen name, Chicane, signifies a deceptive bend. He is currently living in London.  Mark is always available to take commissions for artwork, caricature, cartoons or illustration projects. If you would like to discuss this further please get in touch on Twitter (@ChicanePictures) or at www.chicanepictures.com