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Police arrest mudslinger, but Banks won't press charges

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.

What do you think? Should John Banks have pressed charges against mud-slinger? Click here to vote in our subscriber-only business pulse poll.


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Comments and questions

Oh, what would Banksie give to have a Wendi Deng!

She would have plastered the mud slinger with mud back on his face.

That Wendi Deng protecting Rupert Murdoch video:

This is disgusting. No one deserves this. It's assault, and the perpetrator must be charged.

I was expecting this to happen at the Bridgecorp & Capital & Merchant trial which would of had more merit and more entertainment behind it due to the fact those men caused so much pain and missery on the lives of countless families, But for something supposedily said on now long gone Radio Pacific in 1997 now thats one lonely grumpy old man who doesnt know how to move on with life. Penny Bright looks like you have no life either what a sad pathetic loser you also must be obviously too much free time on your hands, hope to see you in court soon for failure to pay your rates. This act was completely disgusting and uncalled for I hope Mr Banks lays charges against this hooligan what a vial piece of garbage that old man must be maybe a long stint of cleaning public toilets would fit the crime. This trial is a complete waste of public and courts time it does not reflect on any of our lives he did not take your families life savings and blow is on related party lending or missguide you with fake investments, Make a donation to charity and case closed in my books.

I'm not a Banks fan, but am amazed at Banks' self control. Must have been very tempting to just punch that loser in the face.

What was equally disgusting is that those security (?) staff present stood back and didn't move to hep until far too late.

Why not?

Moreover, though he may have looked possibly eccentric in recent years John Banks has come across during his life as a decent human being.

What has happened to our courts is the question NZers are asking after what is regarded as dubious decision-making.

Bring back the Privy Council I say.

There are far too many low-rent nut-jobs in this country with a sense of entitlement to act like this and it's time the Courts came down on them, and came down on them hard. This is not a protest action, it's a straight out case of assault and vigilantism and the Court should respond accordingly. But I bet you it won't.

Anybody want to bet that the mud tossing loser doesn't get off scott free? I will also bet that he has been a WINZ client all his life!

What does being a WINZ client have to do with anything? Maybe he was, and maybe it was because he has a mental illness, are you still willing to cast stones in that case? I think that attitude is a lot more disgusting than receiving a mud pie to the face.

Hopefully neither he nor Banks gets off scott free.

So, Dave, since it's so inconsequential according to you, are you volunteering for a bucket of mud to be chucked in your face? And if this bloke is mentally ill, why is he free to roam the streets assaulting people? That makes him a danger to the public and his unrestricted freedom, therefore, is not allowed under the Mental Health Act.

Who said it was inconsequential? I said I hope that he doesn't get off scott free.

I objected to the attitude that because he did something wrong, that the previous poster automatically assumed that he'd been on WINZ all his life, and the implicit assumption that being on WINZ means that someone is a complete loser.

I would certainly expect that if he does suffer from mental problems of the nature that he should not be on the streets, then our social system should make sure that is the case. Unfortunately that seems not to be the case in many instances, which means that our social system is failing for whatever reason.

Please dont put JB up as a moral goodie

Hes done lots of bad stuff + this time hes caught

Every now + then someone from Remuera has to at least go to court to pretend theres justice

Bit of mud or manure is minor. Look at what politicians are doing to christchurch people

Is NZ the only country where 'veteran protestor' means someone who protests a lot as opposed to someone who has a long record of service in an (especially military) occupation who protests?

Protesting is not an occupation and it's not a public service. Protestors get treated with far too much respect in this country.

That is disgusting and should never happen in a county like NZ. I don't particularly like Banks' politics but no one deserves that.

Why couldn't Mr Bracanov have restricted himself to civil and declarative protest instead of resorting to (literal) mudslinging? I'm for freedom of expression and speech, within the limits that anti-defamation legislation and civil protest behaviour allow, but one can think of other ways to make his objection to Mr Banks' claimed activities and political values other than that.

Last time I looked, the victim has no say in whether or not charges are pressed. If the Police believe a crime has been committed, it's entirely up to them.

FWIW I hope they charge the guy, if for no other reason than that it may lead him to the support he needs for his obvious mental health issues.