Yesterday morning Judge Pheroze Jagose delivered his judgment in the SFO’s very public prosecution of two people connected to the NZ First Foundation. Media were all over this case, hungry to smear NZ First even more than they already do. But the judge was having none of the prosecution’s heroic interpretations of the law and found the pair not guilty on all charges.

Two men have been found not guilty of fraudulently depositing money into a New Zealand First Foundation account, in breach of the Electoral Act.

The duo faced a judge-alone trial at the High Court at Auckland after being charged by the Serious Fraud Office with two charges of obtaining by deception.

They were accused of transferring just under $750,000, which went on party expenses.

Justice Pheroze Jagose issued his decision on Friday, finding the pair not guilty.

Stuff

I have been across all aspects of this case and it was doomed from the get-go. The SFO had charged the pair with property crimes, obtaining by deception. But the SFO lost every preliminary application and had several attempts at pressing charges that actually made sense.

In the end, they were left clutching at imaginary straws as there wasn’t a single piece of evidence to support property crime offences.

What is incredibly notable is that the SFO never even contemplated charges under the Electoral Act, instead promoting a fantasy that these were property crimes. Understandably a judge, immune to political and emotive arguments, found the SFO case wanting, and found the defendants not guilty. He even went as far as to say that there was “nothing inherently dishonest” in obtaining the money.

You have to wonder then as to why this prosecution and all the ensuing publicity occurred?

The curious announcement just before the 2020 election can only have been politically motivated as the only beneficiaries of such an announcement could only have been the ruling party at the time, the Labour party.

And so it transpired with NZ First being knocked out of parliament and the Labour party securing a majority for the first time ever under MMP.

I’d bet a dollar to a knob of goat poo that there are political fingerprints all over the decision by the SFO to announce such a prosecution on the eve of a general election.

This was not a prosecution, rather a persecution of a political party, that had held back the more stupid ideas of the Labour party.

The only possible party that could be the political progenitor of the prosecution is Labour. Winston Peters’s wrath knows no bounds and his utu at the next election will be immense.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news,...