Banks gets community service

August 1st, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

NBR reports:

LATEST: says he will take his case to the Court of Appeal.

He told media outside the High Court at Auckland today that new, compelling and unimpeachable evidence had been found.

This followed his sentencing in the Auckland High Court this morning after being convicted under Electoral Act charges.

The former MP maintains his innocence, saying he has never filed a false anything, let alone a false electoral return.

He says new witnesses have now come forward, and that those unnamed witnesses could not be located at the time of the trial.

He did not respond when asked if the evidence was to come from two American businessmen who had been identified at the High Court stage but did not give evidence.

UPDATE: John Banks has avoided prison, and faces two months community detention and 100 hours of community service after being convicted this morning.

The former ACT MP was emotionless in the dock as his sentence was read out in front of a court where it was standing-room-only.

Justice Ed Wylie said the detention is appropriate and includes a curfew of four nights a week where Mr Banks will have to be at his inner city apartment from 7pm.

The curfew applies for two months.

That’s a pretty light sentence.

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60 Responses to “Banks gets community service”

  1. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    That’s a pretty light sentence.

    It’s about par for the course. If I was a betting man, who also bet on court cases, I’d have said 150-250 hours community work. This is about the same, perhaps a little harsher.

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  2. polemic (460 comments) says:

    Yes I agree that no one is above the law !

    But the question remains:

    Who do you actually trust more? – Dotcom? or Banks?

    Green Uptick for Banks, and Red Downtick for Dotcom.

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  3. flipper (4,068 comments) says:

    So David,

    What should Peters and Clark/Simpson have received????
    The special legislation certainly ensured a “light: sentence.

    But this case is far from over, so talk of a “light” sentence is premature.

    The fact that Banks’ QC did not seek a discharge is indicative of their desire to preserve appeal options – options they clearly believe will succeed. This was foreshadowed several weeks ago.

    As I said on the GD this morning, apropos the appeal:

    “Now someone will correct me if I am wrong, but if J Banks has, and presents to the CoA, new evidence that could over-turn Wylie J, then the Court of Appeal is now compelled to hear/view that evidence and, if it is compelling, and throws doubt on the Wylie decision (under appeal), to allow the appeal and either order a new trial or quash the conviction.

    “My recollection (without checking) is that the “nasty” Law Lords of the Privy Council found, reiterated earlier rulings, and ordered thus, on Lundy. No?

    Much fun remains, and the gloaters might do well to take a deep breath.

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  4. peterwn (3,273 comments) says:

    John claims he is going to appeal an the basis of ‘new’ evidence. Surely if there was strong evidence in his favour it would have come out long ago.

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  5. flipper (4,068 comments) says:

    peterwn (3,167 comments) says:

    August 1st, 2014 at 4:18 pm
    ***

    Read his actual words, Peter.
    The answer is to be found there.
    I have no idea, but I speculate that one of Dotslob’s then minions might have decided to turn “banks evidence”. :-)

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  6. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    @ flipper 4:24 pm

    Or someone has been persuaded decided to commit perjury.

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  7. minus (197 comments) says:

    Cunliffe – Close to a ‘sorry chapter’
    Labour Leader David Cunliffe said Mr Banks’ conviction “underlines a sorry chapter in our political history” and he should “accept his sentence and move on”.
    “His conviction is also a reminder of the dodgy deal that kept him in Parliament over the last three years – and of the heavy-handed pursuit of the media by the police in its wake.”

    However, with Prime Minister John Key this week saying he would again do deals with Act and United Future, “the National Party has learned nothing from this distortion of the MMP system”.

    “National has been kept in power by a self-evident manipulation of our democratic process – relying on discredited and irrelevant support parties such as ACT and United Future which owe their place in Parliament to cups of tea and a nod and a wink.
    “Labour will remove coat-tailing to make the electoral system fairer and more transparent.”

    Cunliffe own goal

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  8. All_on_Red (1,583 comments) says:

    Toad
    Or someone has already committed perjury and is now going to be exposed

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  9. James Stephenson (2,180 comments) says:

    I have no idea, but I speculate that one of Dotslob’s then minions might have decided to turn “banks evidence”.

    One wonders if there’s any link to the, shall we say, counter-bombshell that Whale’s promising ahead of the election.

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  10. goldnkiwi (1,306 comments) says:

    I can think of other examples where someone might not think that their evidence is needed, assuming an obvious outcome and not coming forward initially.

    The fact that their evidence was pivotal, becomes obvious on sentencing, it is quite natural for them to come forward if they see a miscarriage of justice.

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  11. Sporteone (43 comments) says:

    And what will happen if the conviction is overturned in the CoA. and a new trial ordered, Everyone will scream that Banks got special treatment.

    As other have said, watch this space. There is more to come and some will have egg on their face, especially a rather large German. Pitty it won’t be before the election.

    Oh and if it is overturned, who will have the most egg on his face, the person who started this whole matter.

    Go Banksie

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  12. Dead Earnest (160 comments) says:

    In fact Mr Cunliffe, if Labour does make the grade it will be propped up by a breathtakingly hypocritical combination of Neo-Marxists, Maori supremacists, militant feminists and a racist Nazi sympathiser with a criminal record.

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  13. Dead Earnest (160 comments) says:

    On the possibility of Dotcom committing perjuy, perhaps thats part of his cunning plan. committing a jailable offence in NZ so he can’t be extradited.

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  14. Jaffa (94 comments) says:

    Okay, so who would you buy a used car off??

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  15. srylands (410 comments) says:

    ““National has been kept in power by a self-evident manipulation of our democratic process – relying on discredited and irrelevant support parties such as ACT and United Future which owe their place in Parliament to cups of tea and a nod and a wink.”

    Funny, I thought ACT and UF members were in Parliament because people voted for them? Last time I checked the PM can’t force the voters of Epsom to vote for David Seymour.

    How is this a manipulation of our democratic process? In both Ōhariu and Epsom there are a variety of candidates, including National ones

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  16. unaha-closp (1,165 comments) says:

    Okay, so who would you buy a used car off??

    A Bentley or a G-Wagon both cost too much to run.

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  17. burt (8,272 comments) says:

    I bet Banks is regretting that he didn’t just hold up a big “NO” sign when questioned about this.

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  18. jackinabox (776 comments) says:

    Who do you actually trust more? – Dotcom? or Banks?

    Neither of them, they’re both dodgy.

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  19. big bruv (13,904 comments) says:

    The only people in NZ who are less trustworthy than Dotcon are Wussel Norman and his ever expanding female (allegedly) co-leader.

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  20. MT_Tinman (3,188 comments) says:

    toad (3,670 comments) says:
    August 1st, 2014 at 4:29 pm
    @ flipper 4:24 pm

    Or someone has been persuaded decided to commit perjury.

    I have no doubt about your credentials to discuss dishonesty but remind you these aren’t green scum.

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  21. peterwn (3,273 comments) says:

    flipper – you may be right. A certain other blogger who is apparently a mate of John had not opined on this outcome so far.

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  22. Ross12 (1,428 comments) says:

    Cunliffe has to the most stupid politician we have had –making comments like posted by minus @4.41. If he had any brains at all he would have said nothing. But no, he just goes and digs another big hole with his “gotcha” comments.

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  23. Grendel (1,002 comments) says:

    Gee its good that Labour are taking a hard stand on crimes committed by MPs, just like they did when Philip Field got busted, and when they caught Helen Clark out (before she changed the law).

    becuase we know that hiding political donors is so much worse than using your position to get free roofing done.

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  24. MH (759 comments) says:

    As part of his community service he could be usefully employed as an election night scrutineer. Yep, and I bet he wished he’d gone to Dotecom’s place in a balloon.

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  25. Ross Miller (1,704 comments) says:

    Sooooooo, that nice Mr Cunliffe at least knows now what he can look forward to next time he tweets on election day urging the great unwashed to vote Labour.

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  26. Nostradamus (3,326 comments) says:

    Penny Bright must be feeling like Penny Dreadful at the moment:

    publicwatchdog (2,109 comments) says:
    July 2nd, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Banks will have the last laugh? We shall see on 1 August at sentencing in the Auckland High Court

    Goodness!

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  27. ldypen (40 comments) says:

    I can not believe that any sane man, woman, KIWI would ever take CON.CRIME’s word on ANYTHING.. scary thing is that some have.. I look at this country and I am really worried.. it’s not going to end well until we as a country have the collective will to tell someone like that german piece of crap to just get the hell OUT

    This guy says he’s innocent.. OK PROVE IT.. go to the USA with your Lawyers, if YOU are right then what’s the problem.. why try to manipulate or entire political system. maybe Banks is not pure but who is…

    And Hone / Laila you MOFO’s . Try to be real Kiwi’s show some REAL MANA and admit you have been bought by an evil WHITE rich prick!

    But YOU won’t will you… money is good!

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  28. MH (759 comments) says:

    Minto and Martyr Harre, Honed and Dotecon-strange bedfellatios

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  29. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    why on earth does banksy need a curfew? silly

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  30. Keeping Stock (10,342 comments) says:

    Wouldn’t it be a hoot if John Banks’ new evidence proved beyond reasonable doubt that Herr Dotcom had committed perjury during the High Court trial; just sayin’…

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  31. lurcher1948 (151 comments) says:

    It dosnt take much to get you lot excited.

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  32. alwyn (426 comments) says:

    big bruv @ 5.31pm said

    “Wussel Norman and his ever expanding female (allegedly) co-leader.”

    If the Green Party billboard in Raroa Rd in Wellington is to be believed they are definitely more than co-leaders.
    There they are, he in a suit and tie, she in a pure white dress. What is it they haven’t told us?
    She is certainly ever-expanding though. Triplets I would say which in my day would certainly call for a marriage.

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  33. I Say Look Here (57 comments) says:

    So assuming Banks comes through with this “compelling and unimpeachable” new evidence, where does that leave Wylie J., who declared himself entirely satisfied with the probity of the “reliable witness” Dotcom K.? Even while accepting the veracity of the evidence of Mitchell M., M.P.?

    Is it possible a certain High Court judge could be contemplating a hasty retirement right about now?

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  34. Scott1 (552 comments) says:

    Banks benefits from keeping open the possibility of an appeal – it means he can hold his head up in the presence of at least his friends for a little longer. So it is rational for him to appeal (and make it obvious he will appeal) for as long as he can.
    As to what he has – it sounded to me, from his statement, that he thinks he has a business man from the meeting with Dotcom that he plans to bring forward.

    I suspect form the case that Dotcom and co were not 100% correct on the facts of that matter and so he will show that some of it was false.

    But that will probably not be enough to get him off.

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  35. Oliver Twist (110 comments) says:

    I don’t like anything about Banks and I was appalled he became an Act MP, but, the law is nonsense and Schmitz is a despicable man, betraying a friend.

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  36. Scott1 (552 comments) says:

    Oliver,
    Don’t worry, Schmitz doesn’t appear to have much of a chance in law to win his case. So you can expect that extradition to go ahead and the US will probably want to make some sort of example of him (unless he can sneak out of the country in a shipping container or something).

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  37. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,752 comments) says:

    Similarities with Pauline Hanson.

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  38. jackinabox (776 comments) says:

    “I suspect form the case that Dotcom and co were not 100% correct on the facts of that matter and so he will show that some of it was false.”

    “false”? Incorrect perhaps. False implies malice aforethought does it not?

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  39. flipper (4,068 comments) says:

    I Say Look Here (36 comments) says:

    August 1st, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    ******

    Wylie J need do nothing.

    Based on what Banks has said, clearly on the specific advice of senior legal counsel, the appeal would involve the presentation of evidence not available at the “trial”.

    The PC has ruled that this must be heard I any appeal if it is new evidence and not previously available, considered, and heeded if it would make any conviction “unsafe”.

    The result (?):

    1. Conviction quashed, retrial, or

    2. Quashed, case dismissed. Banks has no conviction, but will have served his sentence unless that is suspended (unlikely) once the appeal is lodged

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  40. Bob (497 comments) says:

    100 hours of community service might not be as onerous as it sounds. A person of his calibre could be required to provide management help to a charity or some other organisation. It wouldn’t necessarily mean cleaning up a local park. Spending four nights a week doing paperwork could come off his 100 hours.

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  41. jackinabox (776 comments) says:

    “2. Quashed, case dismissed. Banks has no conviction, but will have served his sentence unless that is suspended (unlikely) once the appeal is lodged”

    Everything gets put on hold while an appeal is pending.

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  42. OneTrack (3,107 comments) says:

    scott1 – “Schmitz doesn’t appear to have much of a chance in law to win his case. So you can expect that extradition to go ahead ”

    Unless, of course, there is a change of government and the “sympathetic” Minister of Justice Norman uses his perogative to veto the extradition. That’ll show those neolibs.

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  43. IC5000 (113 comments) says:

    “Oliver Twist (103 comments) says:
    August 1st, 2014 at 6:44 pm
    I don’t like anything about Banks and I was appalled he became an Act MP, but, the law is nonsense and Schmitz is a despicable man, betraying a friend.”

    I think that ‘friend’ was meant to do some favors for fatboy in return for $ and failed to deliver hence fatboy returning that favor in kind.

    It’s a pity we don’t have chain gangs like in Arizona. Imagine the sight of Banks dressed in a orange jumpsuit picking up trash on the streets of Epsom. Certainly warms my heart.

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  44. Dave Mann (1,222 comments) says:

    When Dot.crim first came into the news, I was mildly supportive of him and I thought the black-helicopter thing was way OTT. Now,however, with the Banks fiasco and this Internet/Mana bullshit party I have changed my mind and I can see exactly why the yanks are going for the prick. I say hand him over ASAP and get this fat cunt out of our country.

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  45. Nostalgia-NZ (5,214 comments) says:

    If you read the following there can be no real prospect of ‘new evidence’ to overcome what Banks and his campaign manager said. This from the sentencing report.

    ‘I found that when you signed the electoral return, you knew that you had not provided your campaign team with the critical information, namely that you knew about the donations from Mr Dotcom. I considered that you had engineered the situation, that you had the opportunity to check the return, but that you refrained from doing so. I found that you sought to insulate yourself from actual knowledge of the falsity in the return by seeking an assurance from Mr Hutchison that it was accurate.

    [15] I found you either had actual knowledge of the falsity when you signed the return, because you knew that you had not given to Mr Hutchison the information he required, or that you deliberately chose not to check the return to see whether the donations from Mr Dotcom/Megastuff were properly disclosed, because you had no real doubt as to what the answer was going to be, and wanted to remain in ignorance.’

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  46. Tauhei Notts (1,715 comments) says:

    I am beginning to think that if any judge put a 7 p.m. curfew on me, the money I would save from that curfew would mean that I would be able to pay a substantial fine.
    But then, home is the place you go to when no other place will have you.

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  47. burt (8,272 comments) says:

    I feel for Banks being the first to be held accountable in what seems like decades of economy with the truth in submitting electoral returns. Labour chose to retrospectively validate their irregularities in 2005 ( also sweeping up the previous 14 years in the process ) but that’s no excuse for Banks.

    Justice has been done, once, let’s see if it continues before we decide if Banks was unfairly singled out.

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  48. DJP6-25 (1,387 comments) says:

    I hope he wins on appeal.

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  49. Paul Marsden (998 comments) says:

    Unless Banks can convince the CoA that it was a doppelganger that signed the return, then he’s blowing smoke out of his arse. Regardless of any other matter, the two key indisputable facts are 1) Dotcom did give him the money which was entered in the return and 2) Banks did sign the return. Besides, the CoA very rarely allows new evidence to be heard (unless its particularly compelling), ruling usually only on points of law or, sentencing . Somebody will correct if I’m wrong, but thats my personal experience with the CoA.

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  50. flipper (4,068 comments) says:

    Paul Marsden (987 comments) says:

    August 1st, 2014 at 9:17 pm
    ***&*&

    Are you sure? The PC changed that in Lundy. No?

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  51. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    but will have served his sentence unless that is suspended (unlikely) once the appeal is lodged

    Far from being unlikely, for a sentence of community work, or community detention, the suspension of the sentence is automatic once an appeal is lodged.

    (see section 399 of the Crimes Act (repealed, but still applicable to this case because of when it started)).

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  52. jackinabox (776 comments) says:

    Briscoes chief Rod Duke revealed as donor to mayoral campaign

    What John Banks is labelling compelling new evidence for an appeal against his criminal conviction is believed to be sworn statements from two Americans whose presence at the critical donation lunch was a key issue at his trial.

    But even as the shamed former politician pledges a legal challenge, his accuser, Graham McCready, has pledged to take another prosecution against Banks on the basis of new material obtained by the Weekend Herald.

    The details, revealed through the Official Information Act, show the identity of the third mystery donor who contributed to Banks’ Super City mayoral campaign – $500 million Rich Lister and Briscoes managing director Rod Duke.

    Banks – former Auckland mayor, National minister and Act leader – was yesterday convicted of filing a false electoral return and sentenced to two months’ community detention and 100 hours’ community work.

    Justice Edwin Wylie had found him guilty of filing the return without recording the origin of two $25,000 donations from entrepreneur Kim Dotcom, who is facing extradition to the United States.

    His judgment hinged on the credibility of witnesses’ evidence, telling the court he did not accept evidence from Banks or his wife, Amanda.

    Outside the High Court at Auckland yesterday, Banks said: “Since the finding of guilt, fresh, new, unimpeachable, watertight evidence has emerged. That new evidence completely contradicts much of the evidence given in the court.

    “We’re looking forward to taking that … to the Court of Appeal.”

    The Weekend Herald has learned details of the evidence that will be put before the Court of Appeal in a bid to have Banks’ conviction overturned.

    Evidence was given by the Dotcom camp, saying there were American guests on the grounds of the mansion on the day of the lunch but Mr Dotcom, estranged wife Mona and security chief Wayne Tempero said they were not at lunch when the donations were discussed.

    The claims were contradicted by Banks in his police interview and Mrs Banks from the witness box. Both insisted there were two others at the lunch – businessmen Mrs Banks believed were Americans. Banks was unsure of their nationality.

    Justice Wylie, who also took other evidence into account, said he believed the Dotcoms and did not accept the Banks’ statements.

    He also said it was “largely peripheral” because “the key issue was what was said at the lunch”.

    In the wake of the judgment, it is understood Banks launched a search for the American guests.

    They were eventually tracked to a company in the United States which was a supplier for Mr Dotcom’s defunct website Megaupload, which was brought down in the copyright raid that led to his arrest and possible extradition.

    Banks’ team was believed to have sought statements from them.

    The new evidence claim was unusually raised by David Jones, QC, in his sentencing submissions to Justice Wylie yesterday. Mr Jones did not return calls but is understood to be filing the appeal papers next week.

    Mr Dotcom said last night: “From my recollection, there was no one else at the lunch where the donations were discussed.”

    Meanwhile, Mr Duke – a Rich Lister with a retail empire – has been revealed as the third donor who police alleged should also have been declared. While police alleged the SkyCity donation should also have been declared, Justice Wylie found the charge was not proved. There has never been any suggestion that any of the donors acted improperly.

    The name emerged after the Weekend Herald asked police to review deletions from the executive summary of their donations investigation. The main deletion was the name of a third donor who contributed $15,690 in radio advertising through the Radio Bureau.

    It is the same document that sparked the private prosecutions against Banks. Mr McCready’s prosecution targeted the SkyCity and Dotcom donations as they were revealed through the initial OIA requests. Mr Duke’s name was withheld at the time but was released after the guilty verdict.

    He could not be reached yesterday.

    The document shows police interviewed Mr Duke about the donation.

    He told them the cost of the advertising was discounted because of his Briscoes role and was recorded in the return as an anonymous donation and an advertising expense.

    The true amount paid was actually $11,478.14.

    The police analysis alleged “the donations for SkyCity, Dotcom and Rod Duke should not have been recorded as anonymous”.

    Mr McCready said yesterday that he would now take a prosecution against Banks for not declaring the Duke donation.

    GO McCready GO!

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  53. Mark (1,488 comments) says:

    Banks must have found a legitimate reason that he or one his campaign advisors split the Dotcom donation into non disclosable amounts

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  54. flipper (4,068 comments) says:

    Graeme Edgeler (3,269 comments) says:

    August 2nd, 2014 at 12:16 am

    but will have served his sentence unless that is suspended
    ***

    Thanks GE… I bow to your superior knowledge.
    F

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  55. jackinabox (776 comments) says:

    But will you bow to me flipper?

    “jackinabox (637 comments) says:

    August 1st, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    “2. Quashed, case dismissed. Banks has no conviction, but will have served his sentence unless that is suspended (unlikely) once the appeal is lodged”

    Everything gets put on hold while an appeal is pending.”

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  56. Liberty (267 comments) says:

    “That’s a pretty light sentence.”
    No it is not. when you consider Banks has been screwed.
    by a Judge. Who takes the word of some dubious person who has a history of convictions.
    and is highly likely to end up in an American penitentiary within near future.
    It is also debatable if the money belonged to the dubious person in the first place.

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  57. BlairM (2,339 comments) says:

    There’s something wrong with our system when a man who refuses to be bribed gets convicted of a “crime”. Lest there be any doubt, ALL of our politicians accept these sort of donations. ALL OF THEM. No exceptions. Any of them who say otherwise, they are lying.

    It should be a fundamental part of a functioning democracy that one can donate as much money as one pleases to a politician anonymously. If you have a right to keep your vote to yourself, you should have the same right for the money you give. Money does not, and has never, been capable of buying elections. You still have to find suckers to vote for you. And if you are skeptical, I cannot do other but point to Colin Craig and Kim Dotcom, whose combined polling is not even at 2% of the electorate.

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  58. Scott1 (552 comments) says:

    BlairM,
    Maybe it should be, but currently it isn’t, so the system is working.

    To use a sports analogy from the Tour de France:

    Lance Armstrong can’t legitimately just take performance enhancing drugs just because he thinks drugs should be legal. And even though the Tour de France might be full of drug cheats – that doesn’t mean you ignore Lance Armstrong when you actually catch him doing it.

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  59. Tauhei Notts (1,715 comments) says:

    Scott1; your distorted logic;
    Whatever you have been drinking; I’ll have a quart of it.

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  60. ChardonnayGuy (1,207 comments) says:

    My centre-right friends are gritting their teeth at this latter turn of events. Most of them wish Banks would just shut up and serve his sentence, rather than continue to ramble around in the public eye and possibly retain residual memories of his single term as ACT Leader and sole MP. Which may well end up damaging that party’s political brand. It’s hard to tell whether it has done so or not, without micropolling Epsom, I concede.

    (Ahem) Some enterprising pollster should do so. (Hint, hint, David) ;)

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