5 Jun 2014

John Banks guilty; may lose seat in Parliament

3:24 pm on 5 June 2014

ACT MP John Banks has been found guilty of filing a false electoral return, in a decision released by Justice Wylie in the High Court at Auckland.

However, his lawyer, David Jones, has asked for the conviction not to be entered, and the question of whether Banks' Epsom seat will be vacated will have to wait until that matter is dealt with.

Banks was charged with knowingly filing the false return after his failed Auckland mayoralty campaign in 2010.

Justice Wylie delivered the verdict to a packed public gallery.

Our reporter in court said Banks stood to receive the verdict, and blinked and jutted his chin into the air when the word "guilty" was read.

The Crown had said Banks allowed donations from Skycity and internet businessman Kim Dotcom to be recorded as anonymous, even though he knew where the money came from.

Justice Wylie heard nearly two weeks of evidence in the High Court at Auckland, as well as submissions from Crown prosecutor Paul Dacre and Banks' lawyer, Mr Jones.

Releasing his decision, he said he considered Mr Dotcom, his estranged wife, Mona Dotcom, and their former bodyguard, Wayne Tempero, as reliable witnesses.

Banks faces a maximum sentence of two years in prison or a fine of $10,000.