Banks let off with a lie | The Jackal

14 Sept 2012

Banks let off with a lie

Today, Stuff reported:

Pressure is mounting on Prime Minister John Key to sack John Banks over his campaign donations.

Fresh revelations from police files this week have led to further questions about how much Mr Banks knew of $65,000 in "anonymous" gifts from internet mogul Kim Dotcom and SkyCity casino.

In May, Mr Key pledged to fire the small business minister if he had lied over the donations to his failed 2010 campaign to be Auckland super-city mayor.

Yesterday he insisted: "Nothing has changed. He hasn't broken the law ... there is no charge against him."

John Banks should be charged as he knowingly broke the law with the evidence abundantly clear on that matter. So why exactly has he been let off?

In July, the NBR reported:

Assistant police commissioner Malcolm Burgess says there is not enough evidence to consider a prosecution under s134 (1) of the Local Electoral Act 2001.

“The inquiry has established the return was compiled by a campaign volunteer who assured Mr Banks it was accurate before Mr Banks signed and transmitted the return."

In respect of s134 (2) relating to transmitting a false return, police have also dropped their investigation.

"There is a statutory limit of six months from the time of elections when complaints must be laid. Police first received the complaint for investigation on April 27, 2012, well after the expiry of six-month period.”

John Banks knew the return was misleading before he signed it because he had personally requested the split donations so they could be anonymous. It's also concerning that the Police have used the time limit as an excuse not to lay charges and that the mainstream media have been dutifully repeating the lie.

Here's what the actual law states:

226 Time limit for prosecutions

(2)A prosecution against any person for a corrupt practice or an illegal practice must be commenced—
(a)within 6 months of the date on which the prosecutor is satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to warrant the commencement of the proceedings; but
(b)not later than 3 years after the corrupt practice or illegal practice was committed.

There's nothing within the Electoral Act 1993 that lets Banks off. The six months concerns when the prosecutor is satisfied that there is sufficient evidence... It has not been three years since the offence was committed by John Banks.

This raises the question of whether there has been political pressure put on the Police not to lay charges?

Clearly the evidence given by Dotcom, his bodyguard, his lawyer, independent witnesses and a number of contradictory statements made by Banks is sufficient evidence and the Act party leader should be held to account. To do otherwise makes a complete mockery of our political and justice system.