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Banks won't face retrial

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 19/05/2015
John Banks will not face a retrial. © Getty Images John Banks will not face a retrial.

Former ACT MP John Banks won't face a second trial on charges he declared donations from internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom as anonymous when he knew who they were from.

The Court of Appeal on Tuesday threw out its decision to order a retrial and directed Mr Banks be acquitted.

At a hearing last month, Mr Banks and his legal team argued that the retrial, scheduled for July, shouldn't go ahead because the Crown knew - but didn't tell the court - Mr Dotcom had changed his evidence.

Mr Banks' lawyer David Jones QC said had the court known that, it wouldn't have ordered the retrial.

In its decision, the Court of Appeal said it was satisfied there had been a "serious error of process".

Following a two-week trial in the High Court last year, Banks was found guilty of falsely declaring two $25,000 donations to his 2010 failed Auckland mayoralty bid as anonymous when he knew they were from Mr Dotcom.

The former ACT leader and Epsom MP appealed his conviction after detective work by his wife Amanda Banks dredged up new evidence from two American businessmen who disputed that donations were discussed at Mr Dotcom's mansion.

In November, the Court of Appeal found in his favour, quashing his convictions, but ordering a retrial.

Tuesday's decision means that retrial will not go ahead and Banks has been acquitted.


* June 2010: Banks visits Kim Dotcom's Coatesville mansion; Mr Dotcom signs two $25,000 cheques for Banks' mayoral campaign, which eventually failed

* April 2012: Police investigate complaints from Labour MP Trevor Mallard about donations made by SkyCity and Dotcom that were declared as anonymous but police don't charge him

* May 2013: Serial litigant Graham McCready brings private prosecution against Banks

* October 2013: Banks resigns his ministerial portfolios; Solicitor-General takes over the case

* May 2014: 10-day judge-alone trial in the High Court at Auckland, after which Banks found guilty of a charge of knowingly filing a false electoral return

* June 13 2014: Banks resigns as an MP

* November 2014: Banks' conviction is quashed and a retrial ordered

* May 2015: Court of Appeal recalls decision to order a retrial, Banks acquitted.

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