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Known unknowns

Written By: - Date published: 9:44 pm, September 12th, 2012 - 8 comments
Categories: accountability, corruption, democracy under attack, election funding, john banks, john key, local government - Tags:

In July, I requested the Police  file of their investigation into John Banks so-called anonymous donations. It arrived today. The key to their conclusion is as follows:

38. Further analysis in respect of the evidence collected in the investigation established that the return was wrong in content as the donations for
Sky City, Dotcom and -should not have been recorded as anonymous. Additionally the $15,690 donation by —- and the advertising expense should have been recorded as $11,478.14, inclusive of GST.

39. Police concluded that this would satisfy the requirement of ‘False’ in respect to The Return, but believe that the circumstances do not reach the Evidential Sufficiency Test (assessed against the Prosecution Guidelines) in that Police cannot prove that ‘Mr BANKS knowingly signed The Return in respect to section 134 (1) of the Act.

The evidential sufficiency test is found in the Prosecution guidelines. The key phrase is as follows:

The first question to be considered under this head is whether the prosecutor is satisfied that there is admissible and reliable evidence that an offence has been committed by an identifiable person.

The second question is whether that evidence is sufficiently strong to establish a prima facie case; that is, if that evidence is accepted as credible by a properly directed jury it could find guilt proved beyond reasonable doubt.

In their letter to Trevor Mallard, the Police stated in relation to the donation from SkyCity that the Police investigation established that at a meeting with SkyCity Banks received a sealed envelope with a cheque in it. They then said:

Police were unable to ascertain that Mr BANKS had the necessary knowledge that the donation had been recorded as anonymous in the return before he signed and submitted it.

According to the evidence of the SkyCity Chief Executive, Nigel Morrison, Banks certainly knew that he had received a donation from Sky City, and that it was not to be treated as anonymous. Morrison’s statement says:

I am sure that we made it clear to both Len Brown and John Banks that the donations were being made to their election funds by SkyCity and that it was never  intended for them to remain anonymous.

So the Police case is that while the return was indeed false, because Banks did not check the return himself he could not be proved to have known that it was false. The knots that Banks’ treasurer tied himself into would have defied Houdini himself. I’m not sure that it is only the law that is an ass. You be the judge – I’m not sure that a properly directed jury would have had a problem. Banks’ assertion that he had not known at the time that the donation was from SkyCity also stretches the truth beyond credibility.

In July John Key said the law would be changed if “they could find the time.” It may be a coincidence, but  just before I received these documents David Carter found the time, and  announced that the law will be tightened before the next local body elections.

It will be very important that all the significant elements arising out of this sorry affair can be properly considered when the proposed law change does come to a select committee.

8 comments on “Known unknowns ”

  1. xtasy 1

    “So the Police case is that while the return was indeed false, because Banks did not check the return himself he could not be proved to have known that it was false.”

    Banks now blames it all on the law. He stated to the media: “The law is an ass”.

    He was pleased the law would now be changed (to clarify legal requirements).

    In true “victim” mentality he lamented, that “nobody should have to go through what he had been through.” (or at least close to that).

    In true fashion, an unrepentent “innocent” man!?

    Astonishing what the technical, detailed interpretation of law can mean.

    Yet for the general public: Ignorance of the law does not protect from the law!

  2. Dv 2

    Didn’t he also sign off the dodgey Hullick prospectus when he was the dirrector

  3. McFlock 3

    It really is a case of someone being so outrageously amoral and self-serving that  not only is their behaviour uncommonly loathsome, it is so baldly corrupt as to be inconceivable to legislators who outlawed beastiality and child labour. 

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    You be the judge – I’m not sure that a properly directed jury would have had a problem.

    I’m reasonably certain that a properly directed jury would have found Banks guilty as charged.

    • tc 4.1

      Oh to have one’s own compliant force, chasing down cameramen and media outlets, writing these convenient reports, arresting big bad internet barrons on behalf of your US buddies.

      where’s mine, it’d be so cool.

  5. Bill 5

    How the donation was to be treated, how it was actually recorded (not by Banks?) and how (perhaps) Banks failed to pick up an error of ‘detail’ among his returns (I assume they are a list) are quite seperate things in a chain of events and would, I reckon, give Banks plenty of wriggle room on the ‘reasonable doubt’ front.

    • BernyD 5.1

      You’d think that an elected Politician would have processes in place to make sure data was recorded accurately and honestly.

      The fact that he doesn’t means it’s he is exploiting an engineered loophole.

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