Tamihere witness admitted being paid for testimony, court told

A prison snitch who testified against double murderer David Tamihere called the convicted killer's brother years later saying he had been paid for his evidence, a court has been told.

The informant, who cannot be named and is known as Witness C, gave evidence at Tamihere's high-profile trial in 1990, saying Tamihere in prison confessed in detail to killing Swedish tourists Sven Urban Hoglin, 23, and Heidi Paakkonen, 21, the year prior.

Tamihere was convicted and released on parole in 2010, but has always maintained his innocence.

Witness C is now standing trial in the High Court at Auckland, accused of eight charges of perjury and one of attempting to pervert the course of justice in a private prosecution brought by inmate and prison advocate Arthur Taylor.

Opening the prosecution case on Monday, lawyer Murray Gibson told the jury Witness C had on August 25, 1995 signed an affidavit that effectively confirmed he lied in court.

"He categorically states David Tamihere never made any confession to him but always maintained his innocence," Mr Gibson said.

Then, in a letter written to Tamihere in 2007, Witness C admitted it was "all false and fabricated by the police", Mr Gibson said.

He said the witness admitted he had given evidence believing he could get $100,000 and help with his parole.

Tamihere's brother, former politician John Tamihere, who worked on his brother's case, told the court he received a call "out of the blue" from Witness C in 1995.

Mr Tamihere said while he was initially sceptical, Witness C called him three times, insistent on recanting his story, leading to the affidavit being prepared.

"[He] said that evidence was effectively given to him by a senior police officer," he said.

Mr Tamihere said the witness "never asked for a thing" and rather than seeming coerced, was "relentless".

He said he had received "some" money, but nowhere near $100,000, Mr Tamihere said.

The trial evidence that David Tamihere had said he met the Swedes at a picnic area linked him to the pair in the face of a lack of other direct proof, John Tamihere said.

Opening the defence case, lawyer Adam Simperingham said while some of the evidence Witness C gave was wrong - such as the claim Tamihere got rid of the bodies at sea and that he had taken Mr Hoglin's watch - he was just relaying what Tamihere had told him.

He said in recanting, Witness C may have just been trying to prevent "prison thuggery" in retaliation for his earlier evidence.

Mr Hoglin's body was found in 1991 - after the trial - and his fiance, Ms Paakkonen, was never found.

Witness C was granted name suppression prior to Tamihere's trial and the Court of Appeal on Monday declined to revoke that suppression.

NZN