Crown Law cleared in Banks case
By 3 News online staff
Attorney-General Chris Finlayson says there was nothing wrong with Crown Law's conduct throughout the court case against John Banks, but the former ACT leader has accused him of "rubber-stamping" its behaviour.
"Mr Finlayson's response is seriously flawed," says Mr Banks. "The Court of Appeal has ruled there has been bad behaviour by the Crown and bad faith by the Crown and now we've got the Attorney-General Mr Finlayson rubber-stamping the bad behaviour by the Crown."
Mr Banks was acquitted in May of charges relating to falsely declaring donations from Kim Dotcom over his failed Auckland mayoralty bid in 2010 and the Court of Appeal ruling he shouldn't be retried.
Following the ruling, he called for Solicitor-General Mike Heron QC to stand down so an inquiry could be held into the case, which he called a three-year "jihad".
Chris Finlayson, the minister responsible for the Crown Law Office, said he'd take a "careful look" at Crown Law's management of the case.
Initially, the private prosecution was taken by Graham McCready, and the decision to go to trial was an independent judicial one, Mr Finlayson says.
"Apart from limited involvement at various stages of the case, Crown Law briefed an independent barrister to conduct the prosecution. It did so for a number of reasons, including the involvement of Mr Dotcom as a witness and the politically controversial nature of the case.
"Mr Banks has had a distinguished career in both central and local government and I acknowledge the distress this matter has caused his family and him. I am, however, satisfied that Crown Law's supervision of the litigation was satisfactory and in line with the Prosecution Guidelines 2013," Mr Finlayson said in a statement.
Mr Heron had his full confidence, with Mr Finlayson describing him as "outstanding" in his role.
He would not comment further on the case.
But that's exactly what New Zealand First leader Winston Peters wants him to do, saying Mr Finlayson should say why he is satisfied for the reasons for non-disclosure of an important memorandum to the Court of Appeal.
"Could we all learn what are these reasons leading to his satisfaction, or is that information to be denied to both Mr Banks and the rest of us mere legal mortals?" questioned Mr Peters.