Patrice Dougan; 7/9/13
Internet millionaire Kim Dotcom and his bodyguard are set to be called to give evidence in a private prosecution against ACT leader John Banks over faked donation allegations. Dotcom, his body-guard Wayne Temparo and lawyer Greg Towers, alongside SkyCity boss Nigel Morrison, have all been ordered by a judge to attend an oral hearing in the case. The private prosecution has been brought by former accountant Graham McCready, alleging Mr Banks knowingly received political donations from Dotcom and SkyCity during his failed 2010 Auckland mayoralty bid that were recorded as anonymous. He took the action after police determined they could not lay a charge because it was outside the six-month time limit for summary charges to be laid. The hearing – for which no date has yet been set – will determine whether Mr Banks will face a full trial.
In a decision sent to all parties on Friday, Auckland District Judge Eddie Paul ruled that Dotcom, Mr Temparo, Mr Towers and Mr Morrison should all be called to give evidence at the hearing. Court documents show Mr Banks’ legal team opposed the calling of the Mega mogul to the hearing, saying the “purpose of the application is to turn media statements into admissible evidence”. However, Judge Paul said those called had already been deemed relevant by Judge Ian Mill in a decision published in April, saying: “…a number of people are able to comment of Mr Banks’ knowledge, which is a critical element of the offence he faces”. The documents also said Mr Temparo has “relevant evidence of what Mr Banks knew”, including two appointments between Mr Banks and Mr Dotcom where they discussed the difficulty of securing funds.
The allegations relate to two $25,000 donations from Dotcom and his company Megastuff Ltd, and a third donation of $15,000 from SkyCiy. Mr McCready, who is currently running for Wellington’s Eastern Ward seat, said the determination was “a win for open justice in New Zealand in a climate where the police declined to file the same charge against Banks and have refused to prosecute the GCSB for illegal spying on Kim Dotcom”. Mr McCready was found guilty of false tax returns in 2009 and was convicted of blackmail in April. Mr Banks declined to comment on the ruling, saying only that his team were “very relaxed” about it.
- APNZ; http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11121255