The Herald reports:
The case against John Banks has been thrown out and he will not face a second trial for allegedly filing a false electoral return.
The Court of Appeal has sensationally reversed its previous decision to order a retrial following the late disclosure of a document, which Mr Banks’ lawyer David Jones QC said “contradicts all evidence given at trial” by the Dotcom witnesses and made the prosecution “untenable”.
In a judgment just released by the Court of Appeal, Justices Ellen France, Forrest Miller and John Wild ruled that Mr Banks should not stand trial again and he was acquitted.
Extremely pleased for John Banks, and huge questions to answer for Crown Law whom with-held critical evidence from the defence team, and hence the Court of Appeal.
The trial largely hinged on the credibility of who was right about a contentious lunch at the Dotcom mansion. Banks was convicted but his wife Amanda later unearthed new witnesses who corroborated their version of events, so the Court of Appeal quashed the conviction and ordered a retrial. However, in response to the evidence of the new witnesses, Dotcom said there was now two lunches – but this was not disclosed ahead of the appeal hearing.
Well done Amanda Banks for exposing the Dotcom evidence as false.
It is worth noting that while John Banks has been acquitted, his behaviour with the donations was not best practice. He should have shown more interest in the documents he was signing. But there is a difference between poor practice and breaking the law, and he has been acquitted.
UPDATE: The Herald now has the judgment. Extracts:
This court possesses an implied jurisdiction to recall judgments delivered in its criminal jurisdiction, where it must act to prevent a miscarriage of justice that has resulted from some serious error or process. This jurisdiction is reserved for exceptional cases.
What they have done is very rare.
We hold rather that the Crown could not both withhold the memorandum and resist the appeal in the manner that it did. The effect was to mislead the court.
Ouch. Bad Crown Law.
We are satisfied that had we known of the Butler memorandum, we would not have ordered a retrial.
I presume John Banks will now seek costs against the Crown.