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John Banks Decisions: Committal and Transfer of Proceedings

CIV 2013-404-4645
[2013] NZHC 3221

First Respondent
Second Respondent

[1] The Honourable John Banks is a Member of Parliament, and currently leader of the ACT political party. In October 2010, in the first such election after a major reorganisation of local government in the region, he was a candidate for the Auckland mayoralty.

[2] At material times, a mayoral candidate (whether successful or unsuccessful) was required to make a return of electoral expenses and donations (the Return). During the campaign, Mr Banks had received two donations (together totalling $50,000) from a company associated with Mr Kim Dotcom, a businessman, and one of $15,000 from SKYCITY Entertainment Group Ltd (Sky City). Those donations were not expressly disclosed in the Return. Rather, they appear to have been classified as having been made anonymously.

[3] A member of the public, Mr McCready, decided to initiate a private prosecution, alleging that Mr Banks had transmitted the Return to the electoral officer, knowing that it was false in a material particular. Subsequently, a District Court Judge authorised the issue of a summons to compel Mr Banks to answer the charge.4 A preliminary hearing took place before Judge Gittos, in the District Court at Auckland, to determine whether there was sufficient evidence to put Mr Banks on trial for the alleged offence. On 16 October 2013, Judge Gittos committed Mr Banks for trial in the District Court.

[4] Mr Banks seeks judicial review of the committal decision. He asks this Court to quash the decision to commit him for trial, to set aside the committal and to issue a declaration that there is insufficient evidence to commit him for trial. The question is whether Mr Banks has demonstrated a basis upon which this Court should exercise its undoubted supervisory jurisdiction to quash the committal decision.


[47] The application for judicial review is dismissed. I did not hear submissions on the question of costs. They are reserved. If costs are sought, a memorandum shall be filed and served on or before 13 December 2013. On receipt of any memorandum, the Registrar shall allocate a telephone conference before me so that further directions can be made.

[48] I emphasise the preliminary nature of the decision to commit for trial. On the evidence adduced to date a fact-finder at trial may or may not find “knowledge” proved beyond reasonable doubt. At this stage, Mr Banks is entitled to the

Full judgment: BanksvAucklandDistrictCourt.pdf


CRI 2012-085-9093
[2013] NZHC 3223


[1] Contemporaneously, I have delivered a judgment dismissing Mr Banks’ application for judicial review of a decision of the District Court to commit him for trial on a charge brought under s 134(1) of the Local Electoral Act 2001.1
[2] Counsel agreed, in advance of the judicial review hearing, that if I were to dismiss that application, the criminal proceeding could be transferred by consent to this Court for hearing. The jurisdiction for such an order springs from s 28J of the District Courts Act 1947.
[3] In the circumstances, I agree that this prosecution should be tried in this Court…

Full judgment: R_v_Banks.pdf

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