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 (in which the then Auckland Mayor stood unsuccessfully against Manukau Len Brown for the to head the newly amalgamated "super city"). Under the local government electoral law at the time, it was an offence to list a donour 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.
Mr Dotcom — who became angered after Mr Banks failed to answer a request for help after the accused pirate was jailed following the January 20, 2012 raid on his rented mansion — has backed the Crown's version of events.
The prosecution also alleges that Sky City CEO Nigel Morrison personally handed Mr Banks a campaign donation cheque for $15,000. The Sky City donation was also listed as anonymous.
Mr Banks has denied any wrongdoing.
A defence affidavit says the candidate's electoral return was compiled by advisors Lance Hutchison and Michelle Boag.
Mr Banks "flicked through" the return before signing it off.
Pressure from publicity surrounding the pending trial saw Mr Banks resign as ACT Party leader, and he will not contest his Epsom seat at the September 20 election (David Seymour will stand for ACT in the electorate).
If convicted, Mr Banks faces up to two years' jail or a fine of up to $10,000.
This article is tagged with the following keywords. Find out more about MyNBR Tags
- Brexit aftermath: disdain, the elites, and the warning for conservative parties everywhere
- NZME shares unpopular during first hour on NZX
- NZ farmer confidence rebounds in second quarter as dairy price improves
- Dairy farmers need to reconsider 'smart level' of debt, Feds dairy chairman Hoggard says
- NZ sheepmeat, tourism may be hardest hit by Brexit as pound weakens, market volatility jumps
Most listened to
- What Australia needs now is stability, no more hopping around, says CPA CEO Alex Malley
- The challenge for the conservative side of politics is to recapture the focus on national identity
- Craigs' Mark Lister says Brexit fallout is likely to mean more volatility and a sub-2% OCR
- NBR's Jenny Ruth on a report suggesting electric car uptake will be slow
- Sunday Business with Andrew Patterson: Brexit Special