- 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.