17 Jan 2013

Taylor back in court over prison smoking ban

8:45 pm on 17 January 2013

Serial offender Arthur Taylor was back in court on Thursday fighting the ban on smoking in prisons.

In late 2012, the High Court ruled that the Department of Corrections ban was unlawful and invalid.

But the department has introduced new regulations which it says supersede the High Court ruling.

With two guards behind him, Taylor appeared via video link from Auckland Prison at Paremoremo and questioned the department's ban on smoking.

He said even though the High Court ruled last year that prisoners were allowed to smoke in their cells, Corrections now says it is entitled to ban tobacco.

Taylor says if prisoners have the right to smoke, it is implicit they have the right to tobacco.

He believes the matter is urgent because of human rights implications for prisoners and mental health patients affected by the ban.

The Crown said on Thursday the Attorney-General has filed an appeal against the High Court ruling,

Justice Courtenay will hear Taylor's application on 5 February.