Witness C on trial for perjury
Prison informant accused of giving false testimony in Tamihere murder trial.
Aman accused of lying in the double-murder trial of David Tamihere goes on trial tomorrow on charges of perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice.
The man had testified that while they were in jail together, Tamihere told him he had killed Swedish tourists Urban Hoglin and Heidi Paakkonen and disposed of their bodies at sea.
The case to be heard in the Auckland High Court is a private prosecution brought by longtime prison inmate Arthur Taylor.
The defendant is accused of giving false testimony at the trial of Tamihere for the murders.
His name and identifying details were suppressed 27 years ago at the trial in which he was referred to as “Witness C”.
Tamihere was convicted. He was released from prison in 2010 after serving 20 years.
At the trial, Witness C testified that Tamihere had told him he had met the Swedes at a picnic or camping area, sexually assaulted and killed both — Hoglin by beating his head with a lump of wood, and dumped their bodies at sea in the Firth of Thames.
Hoglin, 23, and Paakkonen, 21, disappeared in April 1989 after leaving their car at the end of the Tararu Stream road in the Coromandel Ranges.
Hoglin’s remains were discovered by pig hunters in 1991 in the Wentworth Valley near Whangamata on the East Coast, about 70km from where the murders were alleged to have taken place. An examination indicated he had been stabbed.
Witness C was one of three jailhouse informants who gave evidence for the Crown.
Taylor has said in court documents that he had never met or spoken to Tamihere, that his motivation for bringing the prosecution was “to maintain the integrity and reputation of the criminal justice process and demonstrate to anyone contemplating giving false evidence that they can be held accountable”.
Tamihere was living rough in the bush at the time the Swedes disappeared, having absconded after pleading guilty to having sexually violated a woman in Auckland in 1986.
He admitted stealing the Swedes’ car but denied having met them.
Urban Hoglin and Heidi Paakkonen.