Witness C perjury case a 'stain on the justice system' - Arthur Taylor

A secret witness who made up evidence at David Tamihere's double-murder trial has been sentenced to eight years and seven months' jail. 

Jailhouse lawyer Arthur Taylor initiated the private prosecution against Witness C and he and prosecutor Richard Francios wanted the maximum 14-year sentence to deter other liars.

"I think this sends a very strong message to these perjurers, these liars, that if they get caught out, and the evidence is there, they are going to get a very serious sentence," Taylor said.

"There is never a shortage of these people. We have a lot of rat-bags in prisons. Their first thought is, 'How I will get the hell out of here?' and they will do anything to achieve that."

Taylor said he took the case to remove the "stain on the justice system" and with Tamihere appearing at court as a free man, "things have come a full circle".

It's been more than a quarter of a century after Witness C, who has name suppression, testified. In the trial he manufactured evidence that helped send Tamihere to jail.

While in jail with Tamihere, he claimed Tamihere confessed to killing Swedish backpackers Heidi Paakonen and Sven Urban Hoglin, sexually assaulting the pair, stealing Mr Hoglin's watch and dumping the bodies at sea.

Nearly a year after Tamihere was convicted of the murders, Mr Hoglin's body was found on the Coromandel, buried in bush and still wearing the watch Tamihere supposedly stole - all of it now officially lies. 

Over the years Witness C had flip-flopped, recanting his evidence, changing his mind back and then changing it yet again.

"Since I have been convicted, the Crown's case keeps falling apart," Tamihere said.

Witness C's lawyer argued his client gained little for his false evidence and the appeal court in Tamihere's case believed the jury would have taken little heed of what Witness C said.

Tamihere thinks otherwise.

"Nothing we could say after that was going to change it. It was done and dusted," he said.

Despite exhausting his appeal options, Tamihere is determined to clear his name of the murders.

Witness C will be eligible for parole next year on other charges and plans to appeal his perjury convictions.