Inmate and "jailhouse lawyer" Arthur Taylor, who prosecuted Witness C for lying at one of New Zealand's most gripping murder trials, now has another prison snitch in his sights.

Three Crown witnesses (A, B and C), whose identities all remains hidden, gave "powerful" evidence during the 1990 jury trial of David Tamihere, who was found guilty of murdering Swedish tourists Urban Hoglin, 23, and Heidi Paakkonen, 21, in the Coromandel Ranges during 1989.

Witness C claimed Tamihere confessed to the killings while the pair were cellmates.

Tamihere was sentenced to life imprisonment, had all his appeals rejected, and was denied leave to appeal to the Privy Council.

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Eventually he was released on parole in 2010 but always professed his innocence.

Last year, Taylor led a private prosecution against Witness C for lying at the trial, and a High Court jury found the police informant guilty on eight perjury charges.

However, Witness C was found not guilty of obstructing the course of justice, which pertained to his 1995 affidavit recanting his testimony. He later recanted the affidavit.

Inmate and litigator Arthur Taylor wants Witness B's name suppression revoked after successfully prosecuting Witness C last year. Photo / File
Inmate and litigator Arthur Taylor wants Witness B's name suppression revoked after successfully prosecuting Witness C last year. Photo / File

Today, in the High Court at Auckland, Justice Mark Woolford heard Taylor's application to revoke Witness B's name suppression - which was granted during Tamihere's trial.

Witness B, however, died some 23 years ago in a car crash.

But Taylor, appearing via video from prison, told the court he "quite possibly" would have launched a private prosecution against Witness B if he was still alive.

He added that he had information about Witness B which he wanted to share with the press but was unable to because of the court order.

Taylor alleges all three witnesses are guilty of lying at Tamihere's trial and were offered inducements by the police to testify.

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The Court of Appeal has described the trio's evidence against Tamihere as "wholly circumstantial".

Witness C's perjury convictions added further mystery to whether Tamihere (pictured during his trial) killed the Swedish tourists. Photo / File
Witness C's perjury convictions added further mystery to whether Tamihere (pictured during his trial) killed the Swedish tourists. Photo / File

There was also a high public interest, Taylor said, to knowing the identity of the informants. He is due to appear on TV3's Newshub Nation current affairs show to discuss the role of "secret witnesses" in the criminal justice system.

Crown lawyer Mark Harborow, arguing for Witness B's identity to remain hidden, told the court a discussion can be had - appeasing genuine public interest and furthering debate in the media about prison informants - without naming the witnesses.

The three informants were also not "key" to Tamihere's prosecution but rather "subsidiary", the Crown argued.

Witness B's family still reside in New Zealand, the court heard, while the location and wellbeing of Witness A is unknown.

Tamihere, who described Witness C's perjury convictions as a "major" moment in his case, was seated in the back of the courtroom for today's hearing.

Justice Woolford reserved his decision.

Urban Hoglin and Heidi Paakkonen disappeared in April 1989 after leaving their car in the Coromandel Ranges. Photo / File
Urban Hoglin and Heidi Paakkonen disappeared in April 1989 after leaving their car in the Coromandel Ranges. Photo / File

Last year, when sentencing Witness C to eight years and seven months' imprisonment, Justice Christian Whata said the court proceedings were "truly exceptional".

He also revoked Witness C's name suppression at the sentencing but an interim suppression order was made as the prison informant indicated he would appeal his perjury convictions and sentence.

A Court of Appeal judgment is expected soon on whether Witness C's identity can be revealed, while the court will also hear Witness C's appeal.

The Swedes' disappearance sparked the largest land-based search ever undertaken in New Zealand.

In 1991, Hoglin's remains were discovered by pig hunters in bush near Whangamata, about 70km from where the murders were alleged to have taken place.

Witness C also testified that Tamihere told him the bodies were dumped at sea.

Paakkonen's remains have never been found.

Timeline

1989: Paakkonen and Hoglin disappear on Coromandel Peninsula

1990: Tamihere convicted of murdering the Swedish travellers

1991: Hoglin's remains found near Whangamata

1992: Court of Appeal rejects Tamihere's appeal

1994: Tamihere denied leave to appeal to the Privy Council

1995: Witness C swore affidavit retracting his evidence

1996: Witness C retracts his retraction

2010: Tamihere released on parole

2016: Private prosecution by Arthur Taylor alleges Witness C lied at Tamihere's trial

2017: Witness C sentenced after being found guilty of perjury and not guilty of perverting the course of justice

2018: Taylor's battle to have Witness C's identity made public reaches the Court of Appeal

2018: Witness C appeal perjury conviction and sentence

2018: Taylor launches proceedings to have Witness B's name suppression revoked