A cousin of Antonie Dixon tried to bribe a juror to acquit the samurai swordsman in his second trial for murder last year.

Andre Joel Wilkie Mail pleaded guilty to the rare charge of attempting to corrupt a jury member, and was sentenced to two years and three months' jail when he appeared in the High Court at Auckland yesterday.

Three weeks into Dixon's second trial for murder last August, the 29-year-old Mail visited the home of the juror, with whom he shared a mutual acquaintance, one night at 9.30pm.

Once inside, Mail told the juror he was Dixon's cousin, then gestured with his hands as if counting money and said: "You know, you know."

The juror asked Mail to leave and rang the police. He was discharged from the jury the next day and had "lived in fear since", said Justice Raynor Asher yesterday.

Defence lawyer Mary-Anne Lowe said Mail acted out of a misguided sense of loyalty to his cousin.

But Justice Asher said his actions could have derailed the trial, and were an insult to the justice system.

Mail was on bail when he tried tried to bribe the juror, and had 27 previous convictions for low-level dishonesty and violence offences, which the judge said was an aggravating factor in sentencing.

The remaining 11 jurors in the retrial could not be told of the reason the juror was discharged, but were kept under 24-hour police protection for the final two weeks of the retrial.

After the retrial, Dixon was found guilty for the second time of the January 2003 murder of James Te Aute, as well as seven charges relating to his P-fuelled samurai sword attack on Renee Gunbie and Simonne Butler.

He had previously been convicted on the same charges in May 2005 and sentenced to life in prison with a 20-year non-parole term.

The convictions were quashed when the Court of Appeal found Justice Judith Potter made errors in directing the jury when summing up the original trial in 2005.

Dixon was found dead in his Paremoremo Prison cell in February.