• Infamous inmate has applied for parole decision review
• Says decision to refuse parole based on "erroneous" information
• Corrections accused of withholding crucial details about his case
• Parole Board considering application for new hearing

High profile inmate Arthur Taylor has applied for a review of the Parole Board's decision not to release him, claiming Corrections withheld crucial information about him that could have resulted in a different outcome.

Taylor is currently serving a sentence of 17 years and six months for serious violent and drug-related offending.

He has more than 150 convictions for offences including bank robbery, burglary, fraud and drugs and has spent almost 40 years behind bars.

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In recent years he has become well known for his role as a "jailhouse lawyer".

From Auckland Prison Taylor has taken a number of legal actions against the Department of Corrections, including challenging the legality of the prison smoking ban and inmates' voting rights.

He was also behind the private prosecution of Witness C, a secret jailhouse witness whose evidence was a key component in the double-murder trial of David Tamihere.

Last month Witness C was found guilty of perjury.

Taylor was declined parole in November and April.

The board deemed him to be an undue risk to the safety of the community, based on information put before it by Corrections.

Taylor now claims that crucial information was withheld by Corrections - and if the board had the details, he could have been released.

Arthur Taylor spoke to the New Zealand Herald from his Te Atatu home after his release from prison in 2001. New Zealand Herald photograph
Arthur Taylor spoke to the New Zealand Herald from his Te Atatu home after his release from prison in 2001. New Zealand Herald photograph

He provided the Herald with a copy of his application for review and an affidavit written for the Parole Board.

Taylor said at both hearings the board was told by Corrections that he had an Roc*Rol of .77585.

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Roc*Rol is an actuarial measure which assists Corrections to predict an offender's risk of reimprisonment.

The rating is based on an inmate's criminal history information and represents the likelihood that an individual will be imprisoned within five years of release.

However, Taylor learned last month that on April 21 last year his Roc*Rol was reduced to .6781.

"The reduction was not notified to me, the board or professionals dealing with me including the psychologist who prepared the report for the board recommending I participate in the STURP course," Taylor swore in his affidavit.

The Special Treatment Unit Rehabilitation Programme (STURP) aims to address the complex offence-focused needs of male offenders with a high risk of general and violent reoffending.

Taylor has never completed the course - which is one of the reasons the board has refused to grant him an early release.

Taylor said if the board had been aware of his new rating "it would have made a material difference" to their decision.

"I would not have been eligible to participate in the STURP, that requires a Roc*Rol of at least .70," he explained.

He said Corrections' failure to notify him of his new rating also affected his last year in prison.

His security status was recently changed from medium to low, but it would have been downgraded much earlier if he had known about the rating.

"As a low security prisoner I would have had many more opportunities open to me in a lower security environment, such as placement in a self-care unit," he said.

"And this would likely have influenced the board's consideration of my case.

"With a Roc*Rol of .6781 I would have been regarded as at moderate risk of reoffending instead of the high [risk] the board was told by Corrections in the Parole Assessment Report."

The new maximum-security wing at Auckland Prison at Paremoremo. The wing was constructed earlier this year. New Zealand Herald Photograph by Michael Craig
The new maximum-security wing at Auckland Prison at Paremoremo. The wing was constructed earlier this year. New Zealand Herald Photograph by Michael Craig

In the affidavit Taylor said Corrections' "error" in not telling him about his new rating
"must have" influenced his management in prison.

"The application for review [of the parole decision] is advanced on the grounds that the board based its decision on erroneous and irrelevant information that was material to the decision reached," Taylor stated.

"If the March 2017 board had been aware that I was not eligible for the STURP programme, that I should have been a low security classification prisoner since at least August 2016 and had a much reduced actuarial risk of reoffending, this may have resulted in a different outcome - especially considering that the question for the board was "was I an undue risk".

"My changed Roc*Rol and the implications of that were in the exclusive knowledge of Corrections and should have been made known to the board.

"In administrative terms, there was a failure to take relevant considerations into account and irrelevant/incorrect information taken into account by the board material to its decision.

"The board based its decision on erroneous information grounded in a wrong Roc*Rol."

Corrections refused to answer specific questions about Taylor's risk rating, deferring the issue to the Parole Board.

"Parole is a matter for the Parole Board, and is granted if a prisoner is deemed not to create undue risk in the community," said a spokesperson.

"Parole is not determined by any one factor and is, instead, a combination of matters.

"Mr Taylor has been offered opportunities to complete his STURP since 2013 but has so far declined to be involved."

The Parole Board confirmed it had received the application but could not discuss the specifics of Taylor's case.

"At a hearing on 7 March 2017, the Board declined to release Mr Taylor on parole as it considered he still posed an undue risk to the safety of the community," a spokesperson said.

"On 30 October 2017, Mr Taylor provided the Board with written submissions in support of his application for review.

"Those submissions together with his application for review will be considered by a Board convenor and a decision made in due course."