Tamihere witness may inspire more inmate informant cases

7:34 am on 2 September 2017

A researcher who helped self-styled jailhouse lawyer Arthur Taylor successfully prosecute an inmate informant for perjury in a high-profile double murder case says they are looking at several other cases.

Entrance to the High Court in Auckland

Witness C was found guilty on eight charges of perjury and not guilty on one charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice at the High Court in Auckland yesterday. Photo: justice.govt.nz

David Tamihere was convicted for the murders of Swedish tourists Heidi Paakkonen and Sven Hoglin after Witness C, who has name suppression, gave evidence for the Crown in 1990 saying Tamihere told him he had sexually molested the pair, killed them and dumped their bodies.

A jury found Witness C guilty on eight charges of perjury but not guilty on one charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice at the High Court in Auckland yesterday.

Mike Kalaugher, a researcher on jailhouse informants who helped Taylor lodge the case, said so-called "cellmate confessions" were inherently unreliable.

"When the jailhouse informant comes into the court room, justice, the lady with the scales, she goes out the backdoor. You don't get just trials and jailhouse informants, they just don't go together."

He said he was aware of several other similar cases, which could bear further scrutiny.

"It's given Arthur - and to a lesser degree myself, some experience in how to go about bringing perjury charges against jailhouse informants, so we'll have to consider that aspect in the near future as well."

The next step in this case will be seeking the lifting of name suppression for Witness C, Mr Kalaugher said.

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