The avant-garde Solicitor General Michael Heron may have taken all the phones off the desks of Crown Law and given violent criminals the green light because of the known budget constraints on prosecutions, but he has reportedly spared no expense in funding top drawer legal representation for the criminally charged mates of his appointer.
New Zealand Private Prosecutor Graham McCready announced in a broadcast email last night that S-G Heron "has billed the government for 130 hours of legal work in May and June 2013 when (Crown Law) were not involved in the prosecution" of ACT Party Member of Parliament John Banks. By phone, McCready said the inference is Crown Law was funding Mr Bank's defence. He confirms Crown law had no role in the prosecution last winter.
Crown Law and Police had earlier refused to prosecute Mr Banks, stating there was not enough evidence.
Mr Cready also announced the New Zealand Private Prosecution Service intends next week to file accessory after the fact charges against the investigating officer who initially refused to prosecute Mr Banks. The evidence of Kim Dotcom and Sky City - each of whom were requested by Banks to break down their contributions into multiple tranches to avoid electoral reporting disclosure - was inexplicably discounted despite no question of credibility.
The 68 year old retired accountant successfully lodged the prosecution which last week found the ACT MP guilty of knowingly submitting a false electoral return, then publicly embarrassed Crown Law into a reversal - picking up the prosecution in October 2013 after McCready claimed his pension and $60 second hand computer were no match for the well-funded MP's defence.
Mr McCready believes taxpayers being unwittingly forced to fund political mates of the government charged with criminal offending will become a huge scandal in New Zealand. He suspects the government picked up the entire cost of Bank's defence, similar to his current prosecution of Court of Appeal Registrar Clare O'Brien for assault, where the government has agreed to reimburse O'Brien's selection of high-priced defence counsel from Auckland in the Wellington prosecution. But he says he is too busy to chase up the proof in relation to the recently convicted Banks. He considers the press and Labour Party are on to it (but then he likely underestimates the lethargy of the NZ press when it comes to exposing dogs who bite back).