Police arrest mudslinger, but Banks won't press charges
"This is disgusting. No one deserves this. It's assault, and the perpetrator must be charged"Featured comment
UPDATE / May 20: Police have arrested Castislav Sam Bracanov (77), the man who threw mud at John Banks outside the High Court yesterday, a Police spokeswoman tells NBR — despite Mr Banks not wanting to press charges.
Despite his best attempts, the assailant, Castislav Sam Bracanov, 77, clearly didn’t rustle Mr Banks. But it was not enough to save him from prosecution.
Mr Banks says he will not press charges on Mr Bracanov saying, “it goes with the territory.”
However, NZ Police spokeswoman Noreen Hegarty says police have looked at the video footage of the incident.
She confirms that a 78 year old man believed to be Mr Bracanov has been arrested in relation to the incident outside the High Court yesterday.
He is charged with common assault and will appear in the Auckland District Court this afternoon.
It is still not exactly clear why a bucket of mud was the chosen form of retribution for something Mr Banks said on Radio Pacific in 1997.
Trial delayed after protester covers John Banks in mud
May 19: John Bank’s arrival at the Auckland High Court probably wasn’t the clean start he was looking for.
A man dressed in a royal purple jacket flung a white bucket filled with sloppy mud over the defendant's face and suit as he tried to gain entrance to the court building.
"You b****d, you stole my 8000 dollar [sic]" the attacker yelled in a ragged voice as he threw the mud, which was described by people on the scene as "foul smelling".
The man — who has yet to be named — was grabbed by court security (see TVNZ video of the attack here).
The incident saw the start of the trial delayed from 10am to 11am to allow Mr Banks to change his clothes.
NZ Police Auckland City District communications manager Noreen Hegarty says she is aware of the incident and NZ Police will investigate.
Ms Hegarty says there could be charges laid, but no one has been arrested. Police are revieiwng photos taken on the scene by a press photographer.
Veteran protestor Penny Bright was at the High Court this morning. She says she was calmly sitting on her chair with a coffee when all hell broke loose.
“An old guy with white hair and a white beard, who was obviously very grumpy, had a white bucket. He swooped with a big underarm throw and covered Mr Banks all over his immaculate suit.”
Court proceedings were delayed until 11:30am, and she says Mr Banks has come back to court. She says it was like watching a game of tennis.
Ms Bright says the bucket-wielding, mud-slinging man did speak a bit as he threw the mud.
“I heard him say something about Radio Pacific, which is long gone. But I’ve never seen him before in my life.
“I have to say, turfing buckets of mud over people isn’t quite my style. I prefer to let my banners to the talking.”
John Banks' trial for allegedly filing a false electoral return kicks off in the High Court at Auckland today.
The judge-only trial centres on Crown allegations that Mr Banks knowingly filed a false return after the 2010 Auckland Mayoral election. Under the local government electoral law at the time, it was an offence to list a donor as anonymous if a candidate knew their identity.
The Crown says Mr Banks asked Kim Dotcom to split a $50,000 cheque into two $25,000 payments to skirt threshold on anonymous donations. It also alleges Mr Banks rang Mr Dotcom to thank him a few days later.
Mr Banks denies the claim.
If convicted, Mr Banks faces up to two years' jail or a fine of up to $10,000. The trial is set to last for 10 days.
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