Colin “the Spinner” Espiner is doing his part in the “let John Banks off a conviction campaign” for the naughty Nat’s. He came out Sunday morning with an opinion piece in the Fairfax stable of shyte sheets in a lightly concealed attempt to suggest he doesn’t like John Banks; but Banksie is an honest man; all men are honest Colin until they are first caught and convicted. Your worthless opinion is noted and consigned to the trash basket. Clown in a silk gown David Jones also made the same submission and it was roundly rejected by the court. It was and is a ludicrous submission and request for the court to deal with the convict Banks differently based on his net worth, his friends and his skin colour.
Banks’ public fall from grace
OPINION: I don’t like John Banks. He comes across as cold, confrontational, and conservative.
I don’t like his politics or his manner. As someone wittier than I once said, Banks speaks like words cut out of newspaper articles and stuck together on a ransom note.
But I believe Banks is an honest and principled man, who has given most of his working life to public service. And goodness knows that’s an often thankless and underpaid task.
Banks has been found guilty of filing a false electoral return over his 2010 Auckland mayoral campaign. It was a trifling matter that should never have gone to trial. And the penalty he has suffered is already far greater than any a court could impose.
Banks has been dragged through the mud; literally, thanks to the cantankerous and bewildered protestor Sam Bracanov, who seems to think Banks’ service as a local body politician and cabinet minister is worth nothing more than a bucket of dirt on his way into court. It was Bracanov who deserved to be in the dock that day, not Banks.
And why was Banks before the High Court, exactly? It’s a bloody good question. It all started in 2012, two years after Banks failed to win a third term as Auckland mayor, when TV3 asked him about two $25,000 donations listed as anonymous on his electoral return.
I have a fair idea how they found out about them. The internet tycoon Kim Dotcom (yes, him again, folks) alleged he had given Banks the $50,000 and that Banks had asked him to break it down into two smaller cheques. Why, I’m not sure, given either amount contravened the rules around anonymous donations.
I’m also unclear as to why Banks would have not wanted the donations from Dotcom made public, given his (then) public friendship with the giant German. But anyway.
The Electoral Commission said it couldn’t investigate without a complaint and – wouldn’t you know? – a complaint soon eventuated. Police took a look at it and, in July 2012, Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess decided that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.
There the matter would have rested if not for pensioner and convicted tax cheat and blackmailer Graham McCready, a serial litigant who spends his time taking private prosecutions against public figures, including Labour MP Trevor Mallard (for punching fellow MP Tau Henare) and Auckland Mayor Len Brown over his use of free hotel rooms.
At the initial hearing a judge found there was “sufficient evidence” for the case to go to trial – not a terribly high bar, of course. But rather than let McCready bumble his way through the trial (and pay for it) the Solicitor-General suddenly decided to take over the prosecution.
This meaningless, time-consuming and pathetic case has cost Banks his reputation, his political career, and his savings. And for what?
Whether or not you believe Banks really did know where the money for his mayoral campaign came from, this issue needs to be placed in some context. Most political parties and politicians know perfectly well – or strongly suspect – where their so-called “anonymous” donations are coming from.
And they get away with it, because our political-donations laws are an ass.
Parties do have to make public the totality of their donations, and the amount of them within certain bands, but only single amounts larger than $15,000 have to be declared with the name and address of the donor attached. And even then, if a donor really doesn’t want anyone knowing they can file a “protected disclosure” donation of up to $43,000.
In this way, National declared some $3 million worth of donations about which the public knows nothing over the past three years. Labour declared $1.5m of such funding and the Greens, $500,000. All entirely legal. But don’t tell me they’ve no idea where the money came from.
Of course, the “Everybody else is doing it” defence doesn’t hold up well in court. And neither did Banks’ exemplary previous record count, with Justice Wylie choosing to believe Dotcom, who incidentally has a conviction for failure to disclose shareholdings in Hong Kong, as well as a string of other convictions for insider trading and breach of trust – and is currently facing charges of fraud, copyright infringement and internet piracy.
Banks was unlucky. He was caught in a perfect storm that included Dotcom, angry at what he saw as Banks’ “betrayal” of him after the raid on the Dotcom mansion, heightened public sensitivity over donations scandals, and McCready’s appetite for a good scrap.
I know most people reading this won’t shed any tears for Banks. He isn’t likeable, and he’s been a polarising figure for his entire public life. He did, however, pull himself up by his bootstraps from an impoverished childhood blighted by the criminality of his parents. He won an electorate seat and held it for 18 years. And he convinced a majority of Aucklanders to vote for him – twice.
Banks made a mistake. It wasn’t the crime of the century. Police made the correct decision in the first place to let the matter lie.
Not for the first time, our justice and political systems have been commandeered by a busy-body serial litigant and a political pretender.
– Colin Espiner
But to be fair LF is assuming that Espiner hasn’t even read the judgment he based the vacuous shyte he spews into this article. Clearly if this lazy spinner had read the decision issued by the sagacious Justice Wylie he would have known that it is adroitly dealt with at paragraphs 17 and 18 of the decision;
 Fourthly, Mr Banks called a large number of character witnesses, They gave evidence as to his honesty, trustworthiness and integrity. I was told that Mr Bank’s honesty and integrity defines him. Mr Jones QC, acting for Mr Banks, emphasized this evidence and submitted that it was relevant to Mr Banks credibility in his police interview and also to the likelihood that he would have committed the offence charged.
 I accept the submission, and I took the evidence into account in assessing Mr Banks guilt. I bore in mind, however, that, logically, there is always a first time for anyone who offends, and that evidence of good character is not itself a defence. [emphasis added by LF]
This is as obvious as tits on a bull to anyone (except perhaps for poor old dim-witted Colin), but far too often forgotten by New Zealand’s courts. If it had any weight whatsoever in law, no rich, white, well-connected prick with a well-lubricated spin machine would ever get convicted.
The Banks defence was contrived and frankly unbelievable. Banks excuse, the willful blindness, Sgt Schultz excuse, a hackneyed and far too often used attempt at exculpation. “ I know nothing, I see nothing”. Every clown in a silk gown or journeyman ‘putz’ legal practitioner reels it out at the drop of a hat. In fact it has so often, and ineptly, been used it has its own little dedicated corner in a book little read by journo’s; set out at CA20.35 in “Adams on Criminal Law“.
Justice Wylie, like Justice Heath, also dealt with it in their decisions on the Banks excuse. To be fair to Banks and to Jones it was the only possible excuse that wouldn’t see Banksie banged up or sent down.
The most sinister thing about this whole episode, however, is the inference available as to why the donations were ever allowed to be anonymous in the first place. In fact inferences are not needed. The Banks concealment of the funding was to prevent a later connection being made, when Mr Dotcom came to collect the influence he’d paid for, that the donation had ever been made. Both Banksie and Dotcom knew the money was not a freebie. That the cash, like every large political donation, came with “nod nod wink wink” strings attached. Dotcom tried to cash that little political “chit” when he was banged up in Mt Eden prison on a bad bed and that’s when Banksie bounced his cheque, Kim who? Don’t take the call said Banksie.
For Espiner to spin this shit about Banksie didn’t go unnoticed with the readers, the comments at the bottom of the piece virtually without exception not having a bar of the bull-dust and spin penned by Espiner. LF will keep an eye on this low rent idiot in future. Frankly, he seems to be a bit of a worry and should be treated with appropriate skepticism tempered with a little cankered satire.
Now to top this all off, the cherry on the cake so to speak (or at least John Banks heavenly slice of humble pie), Banks is a ‘Justice of the Peace’ the lowest rank of judicial officer in New Zealand. As such, Banksie will also automatically be sacked from this position, fired, fucked-off, Goneski. How fucking embarrassing. Even more embarrassing, given that Banks is a JP, was that Justice Wylie preferred the evidence of a purportedly convicted fraudster, based on a charge issued by yet another of Espiners fraudsters, a blackmailer to boot, to convict a JP, an ex minister of Police, and a recent minister of the Crown. Now this is the way it should be. It all just adds to the credibility of Justice Wylie and his impartial assessment of the evidence, irrelevant of the mud-slinging by the Banks defence brigade. Espiner attempts the same National party trade mark shit-slinging when he reels out the conviction list of McCready, spitting venom, as would an inebriated tart that’s just fallen off a bar-stool, Espiner opines;
“There the matter would have rested if not for pensioner and convicted tax cheat and blackmailer Graham McCready, a serial litigant… This meaningless, time-consuming and pathetic case has cost Banks his reputation, his political career and his savings and for what..”
Well Colin Espiner, you numbnuts and serial fucktard, its very simple really, John Banks is guilty of criminal offending, he’s guilty of having done so whilst holding high public office and lets not forget that he lied to the police, he lied to the public, he caused your fucking Prime Minister to lie to parliament. John Banks is a dodgy, shape-shifting slippery little fucktard. So if you ever feel the need to attack McCready and Dotcom again you can also reel out Banksies criminal record as well…..serial fraudster…..not the same ring to it Colin, but it’s a fact; unlike Dotcom who has yet to be convicted of anything in New Zealand. We won’t however mention the other Elephant in the room; the German clean-slate legislation that seems to have been completely ignored by Espiner and the rest of the Kiwi media.
Colin Espiner, when next attempting to diminish the seriousness of the offending committed by John Banks, which LF suggest strikes at the very heart of New Zealand’s now struggling democracy, should also spend a little time revisiting Colin McCready’s convictions, noting exactly what they were for. Who can honestly hold “hand on heart” and swear that every single tax return they have ever filed has been 100% straight, whether unintentional or otherwise. Go home Colin and climb under that fucking rock of yours you brown-nosing sycophantic suck-hole. For someone who purportedly doesn’t like John Banks, the article only just stopped short of Espiner managing to slip his tongue in.