A man who killed six people and injured others by torching the New Empire Hotel in Hamilton in 1995 has appealed against his sentence after serving more than half of it.

Alan Wayne Lory was found guilty of setting fire to the 80-year-old building in the early hours of February 4, 1995, and of the manslaughter of the six who died. He received a life sentence for the manslaughter and a concurrent 12-year term in 1996 for the arson.

After talking with the lawyer who represented him then, he decided not to appeal.

But yesterday his present lawyer, Chris Tennett, told the Court of Appeal it was open to the sentencing judge, Justice Hammond, to deal with the issues without giving a life sentence, but rather a finite sentence.

Lory had set fire to a hotel sofa because of a grudge over being thrown out of his lodgings. He lit the fire and walked home. The sentencing judge said it showed exceptional callousness.

Mr Tennett said that if the sentence was wrong, there would be a public interest in correcting it.

Court of Appeal president Justice Noel Anderson said: "One doesn't need a degree in psychology to know this man is a danger to the public."

Mr Tennett said the fact that the verdict was manslaughter, not murder, needed to be recognised.

The Appeal Court reserved its decision.

- NZPA