The lawyer for convicted murderer Timothy Taylor yesterday faced tough questions from the judges at his Court of Appeal hearing.

The three judges reserved their decision on whether Taylor's conviction for murdering Timaru hitchhiker Lisa Blakie should stand.

It was five years this month since Ms Blakie's body was found weighed down with a large rock in the Porter River beside the Arthurs Pass highway.

Taylor admitted giving her a ride, going further west than his Darfield home to do so, and said she was alive when he left her.

A central issue in the appeal was the importance of written material the trial judge gave the jury during summing-up at the end of the trial. It was not shown to the lawyers before being given to the jury, and Taylor's lawyer, Pip Hall, said it was not accurate, complete or balanced. It should have been discarded.

Mr Hall said the danger was that jurors would have relied on the written guide rather than their fading memory of the judge's oral directions.

Justice Robert Chambers said he thought the written material would have been helpful to jurors. He thought the spoken directions were more important.

Mr Hall said there was a risk the jurors did not go further than the contents of the written guide.

But Justice Grant Hammond wanted to know why the judges should assume the jury were so "hobbled".

Mr Hall said the way the written material was organised meant the Crown's case was much more likely to be accepted.

Justice Susan Glazebrook said there was nothing wrong with "skewing" the document to be "for" the Crown, so long as all the issues were put fairly before the jury.

Crown prosecutor Brent Stanaway said the written guide had to be seen alongside a careful summing-up.

It also had to be seen against a list the Crown compiled for the jury which attempted to give all the times given in evidence for events and sightings.

Justice Chambers said the list answered many of the criticisms about the judge's guide placing events out of order.

- NZPA