Tuesday, April 08, 2014

The Reagan defence

John Banks has lost his attempt to have the charge of filing a false electoral return dismissed. But in the process, we've learned that he is using the Reagan defence: "I have no recollection of events at that time":

The judgment revealed details from Mr Banks' three-hour interview with police - never before made public.

Excerpts from the interview featured in relation to the two donations over which questions had emerged - a $15,000 donation from SkyCity and two $25,000 cheques from internet tycoon Kim Dotcom.

Evidence from SkyCity chief Nigel Morrison told of meeting Mr Banks, handing over an envelope bearing the casino logo and containing a cheque. The account was supported by Mr Morrison's executive assistant.

But Justice Wylie referred to Mr Banks' police interview, in which the MP said "he has no recollection of the meeting, or of receiving any cheque from Mr Morrison".

Convenient memory lapses are a stock-in-trade of politicians, one of the standard self-serving lies they tell. But normally they apply it to policies they supported or opposed until five minutes ago, not to statements in court. I strongly suspect that if Banks tried this on before a jury, they'd laugh him out of town (and his arse into jail). But Banks has elected to be tried before a judge; it remains to be seen whether they will be similarly cynical about his statements.

But even if we take it at face value that Banks "forgot" someone handing him a $15,000 cheque, that just gives him other problems. After all, if his memory is so bad that he'd forget something so important, surely he's unfit to be in Parliament?