Police will not lay charges over the so-called banks.com saga. Assistant Police Commissioner Malcolm Burgess held a press conference this afternoon at Police National Headquarters in Wellington. Minister John Banks would be issued with a warning over the matter, Burgess said. While he only received a warning, Banks’ actions were illegal and future occurrences were likely to be prosecuted.
Oh, wait. That’s what happened when the Police investigated a member of the press after he accidentally recorded a conversation between John Banks and John Key in a public cafe to which they had invited the media (I seem to recall that several major news organisations’ offices were raided during an election campaign too…)
When the shoe was on the other foot, when it was Banks being investigated, the Police quietly dropped the issue with a letter to Trevor Mallard. They didn’t say that Banks hadn’t broken the law, just that they couldn’t prove for sure that he had known that the statutory declaration he had signed was false because they couldn’t prove that he had checked the thing he was signing before he signed it and realised ‘hey, this donation from SkyCity and these donations from Dotcom are down as anonymous but I know I got donations from them – SkyCity handed me the cheque!’
Pretty fucken weak. Banks was all over the news denying that he had known that he had received donations and the Police investigation found that he was personally handed the cheque by SkyCity’s CEO and that Banks personally solicited the donations he received from Dotcom.
The fact that he has been caught lying about knowing about soliciting and receiving the donations surely creates a prima facie case that he knew what he was doing when he signed a declaration that listed those donations as anonymous.
To believe otherwise, we have to assume that then former minister and serving mayor, who is now a minister again, signs important statutory documents without bothering to check them.
There’s only one conclusion: if you’re a minister, the Police will treat you as above the law (speaking of which, where’s Paula Bennett’s punishment for breaching the privacy of those DPB mums). And if you’re a member of the public who gets on the wrong side of a minister, then the Police will be all over you.
But I predict this isn’t over for Banks. He’s told an awful lot of lies that the Police investigation has exposed…