Hawke's Bay Today

‘Jailhouse lawyer’ Taylor released after nearly 40 years in prison

- Michael Neilson

One of New Zealand’s most highprofil­e prisoners was yesterday released on parole after spending nearly 40 years behind bars. Arthur William Taylor, 62, was granted parole in January after being denied on 19 previous occasions. Taylor was serving 17-and-a-half years in prison for charges involving explosives, firearms, kidnapping and conspiracy to supply methamphet­amine, among other crimes. The sentence was not due to end until 2022. Almost 40 years of his life has been spent in custody due to his more than 150 conviction­s for offences including bank robbery, burglary, fraud and drugs. Taylor sought to be paroled to a semi-rural Dunedin home, where he would live with a soon-to-be law graduate. In recent years Taylor has become better known as the “jailhouse lawyer” after a series of successful court cases. These included the 2017 prosecutio­n and trial of Roberto Conchie Harris — secret “Witness C” — for perjury at David Tamihere’s doublemurd­er trial in 1990. Taylor was also instrument­al in the courts ruling that denying New Zealand’s prisoners the right to vote was inconsiste­nt with the Bill of Rights, and challenged the legality of the prison smoking ban. Yesterday, as Taylor was released from Waikeria Prison about 6am, he was greeted by his sister and two friends. “Beautiful morning to get out of prison,” he said. “I’m just sad because I’m leaving a lot of good guys behind.” In its decision the Parole Board said Taylor was “confident he will transition back into the community without any issue”.

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