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Banks claims new evidence will prove his innocence

John Banks is still fighting to clear his name tonight, despite a judge describing the former police minister as dishonest and guilty of a pre-meditated crime.

Banks, 68, was convicted of filing a false electoral return when he appeared in the High Court in Auckland this morning but he maintains he did nothing wrong and is promising to prove it.

He was found guilty last month of the offence relating to two $25,000 donations from internet millionaire, Kim Dotcom, for his failed 2010 Auckland mayoral campaign.

But the former Act Party leader says he is "completely innocent" and will appeal against the conviction, citing "compelling" new evidence.

In sentencing Banks to 100 hours community service and a curfew four nights a week from 7pm to 7am for two months, Justice Edwin Wylie said the victim of his offending was the community at large.

But lawyer David Jones QC said Banks has dedicated himself to a life of community service and the effect of the guilty verdict has caused tremendous personal and public turmoil for his client.

Banks was widely expected to apply for a discharge without conviction but Mr Jones told the court that public scrutiny had been so intense there was little point, and again today the gallery was full of people who had come to watch.

"He has had to resign from Parliament as a matter of honour and he has lost a great deal as a result of that," Mr Jones said.

However Banks said "new, unimpeachable, water-tight evidence has emerged" which will "completely exonerate" him. He said it wasn't possible to present it before he was sentenced today.

The former Act Party leader will use new evidence to appeal his conviction for filing a false electoral return. Source: 1 NEWS


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