3 Dec 2013

Judge agrees Banks should go to trial

9:34 pm on 3 December 2013

A High Court judge says it will be up to a jury or a judge to decide what ACT Party leader John Banks knew about anonymous donations.

John Banks.

John Banks. Photo: RNZ

In an 18-page decision released on Tuesday afternoon, Justice Heath said he had no reason to interfere with the decision of the Auckland District Court, which found there is enough evidence to commit Mr Banks to trial over his failed 2010 Auckland mayoral bid.

Justice Heath found that there had been no fundamental flaw in the process by the District Court judge and that the decision to commit to trial was open.

He said the District Court judge found there was evidence that Mr Banks accepted donations from internet businessman Kim Dotcom and casino operator Sky City, and intended that they not be disclosed in the return.

Justice Heath said whether or not the Crown can prove that beyond reasonable doubt is another issue.

Justice Heath acknowledged that while there had been factual errors made by the District Court judge, they did not contribute either to an unfair process or an incorrect decision.

Graham McCready from Wellington started the action against John Banks as a private prosecution and told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme that the MP for Epsom has become a distraction for the country.

"Well, if he finally gets wise to himself, Mr Banks would tomorrow morning at nine o'clock resign from Parliament. Then there'll be a by-election in which the ACT Party and the right wing of the political spectrum could reform itself and have time to fight an election."

Mr McCready said John Banks' political career is over.