John Banks awaits decision on appeal against conviction

The Court of Appeal has reserved its decision on an appeal by former MP John Banks against his conviction and sentence for filing a false electoral return.

Lawyers for the former Epsom MP told the court "compelling" new evidence which they say proves the former Auckland mayor is innocent of filing a false electoral return.

Banks was found guilty of the charge in June and was sentenced to two months community service.

He denies any wrong-doing and took his case to the Court of Appeal.

His lawyers today told the court that affidavits provided by two American businessmen would prove Mr Banks' innocence.

At his trial a court found Banks recorded two donations of $25,000 as anonymous despite knowing they were from internet mogul Kim Dotcom.

The new evidence related to a luncheon at the Dotcom mansion in 2010.

During the trial Mr Dotcom, his then-wife, and his former bodyguard, all gave evidence that the only people present at the lunch were themselves and Mr and Mrs Banks.

Mr and Mrs Banks' dispute that. They claim two businessmen were also present.

Banks' lawyer, David Jones QC said that was important.

"We now know that both of these gentlemen were at the lunch, that makes both Mr and Mrs Dotcom wrong.

"They were present throughout and were in a position to hear a conversation (about donations) if it took place, and they say quite clearly it did not in their presence."

He said Banks and Mr Dotcom may have discussed how to record donations anonymously later in the conservatory but there were no arrangements made and the conversation was "innocent".

The Court of Appeal justices questioned why this was only coming to light now.

Mr Banks' wife, Amanda, told the court this morning that she only looked into the identity of the men after her husband was found guilty.

She believed the verdict to be unfair and was unhappy to have been found an unreliable witness by the judge.

Mrs Banks said she didn't think it was necessary to identify the men before the trial.

In his judgment following the trial, Judge Wylie said who was at the luncheon was "largely peripheral" and what mattered was the conversation that took place.

Source: 1 NEWS


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