Judge Gittos has ruled that the private prosecution against John Banks is to proceed. I understand the Judge says that the issue at trial is whether Banks closed his eyes to the obvious and that the evidence shows an apparent intention of Banks to treat Kim Dotcom’s donations as anonymous when clearly they were not.
The Herald has reported on the evidence adduced.
The decision came after hearing yesterday during which internet mogul Kim Dotcom gave evidence that he was offended when told Banks wanted his $50,000 mayoral campaign donation to be anonymous.
Mr Dotcom said he was asked to split his donation into two anonymous $25,000 cheques.
“My reaction at first was I asked him why and I kind of felt offended,” he told the court.
Mr Dotcom also confirmed Banks was flown in his private helicopter from Mechanics Bay in central Auckland to the Dotcom mansion in Coatesville in 2010.
Mr Dotcom’s head of security Wayne Tempero also gave evidence of being present on the helicopter flight, and at a meeting in Coatesville when the two $25,000 cheques were discussed.
Possibly of greater concern for Banks will be the evidence of SkyCity boss Nigel Morrison who told the court of handing Banks a cheque in an envelope at a meeting in 2010. This donation was handed over during a 10-minute meeting in Mr Morrison’s office.
Either Banks’ memory is in terrible shape or he is telling fibs. Either way he should be no longer in Cabinet.
UPDATE: TV3 is reporting that Banks looks set to be stood down as a minister.
Prime Minister John Key says he will read the court judgment and speak to Mr Banks before announcing a decision on his future this afternoon.
This could be a long 12 months for Banks and for Key.
Update: Banks has stood down from his Ministerial portfolios – will remain as an ACT MP