Northland farmer Allan Titford - who was jailed for 24 years for a raft of offences, including rape, abusing his family, perjury and arson - has lost his appeal against convictions and sentence.

Titford who battled efforts to return his land to local Maori, was imprisoned in 2013 after being found guilty of 39 charges, principally of raping his former wife and assaulting his children with weapons, perjury, obstructing justice, arson, dishonesty and recklessly discharging a firearm.

He was acquitted of 14 charges including rape, arson, threatening to kill and assault.

The farmer denied the offending and went to the Appeal Court earlier this year, arguing he was unfit to stand trial.

Advertisement

A former Far North mayoral candidate, Titford rose to prominence in the late 1980s and early 1990s as he battled the Crown over a farm he owned at Maunganui Bluff, north of Dargaville.

The Waitangi Tribunal recommended the farm be returned to local iwi.

As part of his campaign, Titford burnt down a house on his property and blamed it on iwi.

The farm was eventually bought by the Crown and handed back to Maori.

Titford appealed his conviction on a generic ground of miscarriage of justice, including because he was unfit to stand trial, he was deprived of his right to present his defence because he had inadequate time to instruct counsel before trial.

He appealed against his sentence on the ground that it was manifestly excessive.

Two psychiatrists assessed Titford as suffering from "querulous paranoia", which meant he saw conspiracies in many places.

But the Court of Appeal justices, in their decision, said that was not a diagnosed mental impairment, and backed District Court Judge Duncan Harvey's handling of the case, including the jail term.

"His conspiracy defence appeared to be the only defence available other than a blanket denial," the justices said in their decision.

Titford complained to the court that his counsel - Roger Moroney - did not follow his instructions about calling evidence.

However, Mr Moroney denied this, saying Titford never gave the names of witnesses who were available to be called.

''We are not satisfied that counsel failed in any respect to comply with Mr Titford's instructions on calling evidence,'' the court said.