So, a second judge has confirmed that John Banks will go to trial for alleged fraudulent electoral returns. NZ Herald reports:
The case was taken over by Solicitor-General Michael Heron QC but the Act Party leader filed an urgent appeal to the High Court at Auckland to review the decision.
Rejecting the appeal, Justice Heath said he was not satisfied there was “any fundamental flaw in the process adopted by the District Court judge”.
“I accept that the consequences of the committal order on Mr Banks are serious,” Justice Heath continued.
“Anyone in Mr Banks’ position would be concerned about facing trial for an offence that carried a maximum sentence of imprisonment, if the charge were proved.”
However, he concluded: “Mr Banks’ position in not materially different from any person in good standing in the community who is charged with a serious criminal offence.
“In the absence of any fundamental problem with the decision to commit, on evidential sufficiency grounds, reputational factors are not sufficient for the court to intervene by way of judicial review.”
No wonder then that John Key is looking to re-instate Peter Dunne as a minister. Key is running out of untainted alliance parties/MPs.
Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said the inescapable conclusion of the privileges committee was that Key had launched an inquiry which had “directly attacked our constitutional arrangements”.
“John Key must take full responsibility for setting up an inquiry that ran roughshod over the freedoms that MPs and the media expect in a democracy,” Norman said.
“John Key’s inquiry aggressively went after email records of MPs and journalists that it had absolutely no right to access.”
But Key rejected Norman’s claims and said the privileges committee had squarely laid blame with Parliamentary Service.
Meanwhile, he would not rule out reinstating Dunne, who resigned as a minister after refusing to hand over his records to the so-called Henry inquiry into a leaked document detailing potentially illegal spying by the Government Communications Security Bureau.
It’s looking like Dunne has been vindicated. Meanwhile, John Key’s role in the inquiry is looking a bit dodgy.
[Breaking] Banks press conference 11am
Embattled ACT Party leader John Banks is to hold a press conference this morning where he is expected to discuss his future.
Banks will be joined by ACT president John Boscawen at Bowen House in Wellington at 11am.
Yesterday, a second judge ordered Banks to stand trial for electoral fraud next year.