I don't know if that was exactly verbatim. But I have been told Arthur Taylor's most forceful question to the Court in his recent appearance to lift the name of secret witness 'C' was to ask why it was him, and not police, bringing charges against witness C, who I shall refer to as the hipster, so not to confuse him with other letters of the alphabet used to hide the names of other such witnesses relevant to the proceedings as they will unfold in the Hipster's forthcoming trial
What a poignant question that reveals how much the Justice System is upside down when it comes to secret witnesses. They can absolutely appear to lie and never be charged. Never has a secret witness been charged in NZ before over any matter relating to their evidence or the deal they did with police for money, favours or freedom. The Hipster would not have been the exception if not for Taylor so I believe his question should be answered.
How is that Hipster gave evidence in such a convincing way that some Jury's members in the Tamihere double murder trial were reduced to tears? Justice Fogarty had to deal with that results of that question which arose from the Hipster giving convincing evidence that was all lies. He told of Tamihere confessing to raping and killing the couple before dumping them at sea, he gave sordid details that understandably upset some Jurors in their shocking detail. Later one of the bodies would be recovered on land with different injuries from that which the Hipster had explained in detail, also the bodies were found miles away from where police and Hipster said the assaults and murders took place.
The story of the Hipster began almost 20 years earlier, or at least the police practice of planting evidence as recorded as generally becoming first noted in the Thomas case. A case which was also a double murder for which Thomas was eventually pardoned. Later, in the report from a Royal Commission that followed the pardon, it was concluded that evidence had been planted in order to convict Thomas, and that police had brought secret witnesses to the Royal Commission to 'prove' Thomas was in fact guilty. That didn't work because the Commission decided the witnesses, both prison inmates at some time, were lying - just as Taylor says the Hipster lied. Those were definitely not the first 2 prison inmates that had sung for their supper but from simple deduction in time it could be seen that police were willing to enlist the help of lying inmates.
So there would be little surprise that one of the younger detectives working on the Thomas case would some 20 or so years later, when in charge of the Tamihere inquiry, find not 2, but 3 inmates, lining up to say that Tamihere confessed a double murder to them, such was the reward for lying appreciated by prison narks and their enablers like John Hughes. It appears that Hughes helped the Hipster get early parole from a life sentence for 2 murders which he had pleaded guilty to, although he reoffended and continues to serve a life sentence. It was Hughes that found a watch in the family home of David Tamihere. He was also responsible for what was obviously harassment of Tamihere's wife and children. That watch linked Tamihere to the murders, was identified as being the same or similar to that of the missing Urban Hoglin by his family. It was around about then, I suspect, that many NZers paying attention to the trial became convinced of Tamihere's guilt. Around 2 years later when Urban's body was found in bush some 64ks from where the Hipster said he had been sexually assaulted and buried, not only did the body revealed different injuries that the Hipster had so gruesomely detailed but also the missing watch was still attached to the body.
What was revealed then were not only the lies of the Hipster but the total callousness in which the Hughes led inquiry treated David Tamihere's family. It struck me then as cruel and was brought home exactly how much the mistreatment had extended when I recently watched a video where David Tamihere's father, wife and son were interviewed. As far as I know they have never been apologised to, which sits just the same as Arthur Thomas, his family and his late ex wife Vivian who was accused of feeding the baby Rochelle after the totally fictitious claim that Arthur had killed her parents because her mother Jeanette had never opened a gift from Arthur when they were younger. How Arthur would know that gift was never opened has never been clear, what was clear is that the Thomas family were falsely besmirched by the same police who planted evidence against Arthur.
At the hearing for the application to lift the name supression of the Hipster there was a case mentioned as precedent, that of Travis Burns who was paid $30,000 to provide evidence against a long term friend of his, Chris Lewis, for the murder of Tania Furlan. Lewis committed suicide and Burns went onto kill Joanne McCartney in what many commentators have said was an identical crime to that Burns alleged of Lewis who had maintained his innocence before killing himself. If that is correct then that was another double murder in this deepening quagmire, but in the Burn/Lewis case around 2 years apart between the deaths. One man rewarded and going on to be convicted of a second murder of the same type he laid blame against Lewis for. Following Burns conviction police responded with an internal inquiry from which they concluded that although the crimes were similar they were not both committed by 'their man' Burns. Arthur Taylor may have been busy robbing banks around that time, however I wonder what he would have made of the similarities in the 2 files police said didn't match.
Of course the progression of these double murder links with secret witness were not of concern to Fogarty J hearing the application to lift name suppression of the Hipster. So he would presumably not have been mindful of a fourth such case, that of Scott Watson. Watson was also convicted, in part, by the testimony of 3 secret witnesses. Or the fifth that happened just last year in the case of Mark Lundy who was retried following a decree by the Privy Council that he had suffered a Miscarriage of Justice and had his conviction from the early 2000s quashed. When he was retried last year suddenly a secret witness emerged claiming, as in Watson, Tamihere, Lewis and Thomas - yes a confession. There seem to be so many confessions being given to secret witnesses from prison that authorities could be considering confessionals.
So the depth of Arthur's question as to why it should be him bringing alleged perjurers to the Court and not police is evidenced in not 1 case but at least 5 is revealed. That's because police didn't charge the perjurers whose evidence was rejected by the Thomas Royal Commission, they didn't charge the Hipster, didn't charge Burns, didn't charge any of the witnesses in Watson - despite one recanting, something which the police chose to ignore to keep their convictions against Watson safe, and didn't charge the witness in Lundy who heard 'his' confession from Lundy in the sentenced prisoners yard before Lundy was even sentenced. Why would police bat an eyelid, afterall they have been allowing their special witnesses to get away with perjury for years, since the 1960s if a starting point begins with the Thomas false convictions.
Justice Fogarty wrestled with this tiger and decided, most would agree rightly, that he would continue the suppression of the Hipster's name and that if the Hipster was convicted, as Burns was for another murder, that he couldn't blame on his own mate Lewis, then the Hipsters name might well be revealed just as Burn's name was. I say rightly because it is a tool for police to use informers whether I or others like it or not. But with that tool has come corruption of the highest order, not least that police have never once charged a lying secret witness. They don't want to charge them for fear others may not provide evidence in the future. In fact, in practice, police provide lying secret witnesses with immunity even though they don't have the power to do so, they do this by omission of their duty to uphold the Law. In ignore their sworn duty in such way is breaking the integrity of the Law in another. The message is out and has been for 40 years, do a deal with the cops, lie if necessary, even be encouraged to lie and nothing but good will happen for you if you have no conscience.
How far Taylor maybe able to lift the lid on this dark world where the good and bad guys play each other's roles is debatable. However, from some inference and information discussed in the Auckland High Court 2 weeks ago, the lid could blow right off the pot under it's own pressure. Maybe then Arthur will have his answer and the public for the first time have the opportunity to look into a very dark world kept secret by police, Courts and special witnesses.
I am of course am interested in what impact this may have on the administration of Justice in NZ, it cries out to be remedied. In the 1990s and early 2000s our Court of Appeal whitewashed the Tamihere case when the Hipster's lies were revealed. They said that his evidence not being truthful (or perhaps accurate) didn't matter. That isn't the function of a COA that is the function of a Jury. No Judge or Judges are able to tell what impact was, or is, made on Juries by witnesses so persuasive, as in Tamihere and Watson, at least, capable of being able to make a Jury cry with absolute lies. The pattern of the lies began in Tamihere as far as I know where police feed details, or the witnesses pick them up from the news media and provide compelling testimony garnered with despicable gross acts difficult for any Juror, any person, to divorce from their mind. Particularly a Juror, how can a Court measure the depth of false testimony - it is an Injustice that they deem even to be able to do so.
In conclusion I will answer at least part of Arthur's question of 'why is it me that has to bring the prosecution' - with the answer that it is because it is he (Taylor) who has taught himself respect of the Law and the sanctity of the truth before it. The same person taken away from his family for wagging school over 4 decades ago when Arthur Thomas was first put into the dungeons of Mt Eden based on lies.