David Tamihere appeal: Evidence of perjurer key for defence's case

The man convicted of murdering two Swedish tourists in 1989 has a fresh chance to clear his name. 

David Tamihere spent two decades behind bars for the murder of Heidi Paakkonen and Sven Urban Hoglin but has always maintained his innocence. 

The disappearance of the two Swedish tourists sparked significant media attention and a major search operation across the Coromandel Peninsula. 

But it's the case against Tamihere, who was convicted of killing the pair the following year, that's still got people talking.  

Three decades later, his case is being re-examined in the Court of Appeal, where his lawyers' argued issues with the Crown's evidence provide a "potent recipe for a miscarriage of justice". 

"The Crown routinely called on fabricated prison informant evidence to prop us contentious eyewitness identification evidence," his lawyer James Carruthers said. 

Key evidence at Tamihere's trial in 1990 came from convicted killer and prison informant Robert Conchie Harris. 

He claimed Tamihere confessed to the murders while they were both in prison but in 2017, he was found guilty of perjury. 

"That is a potent recipe for a miscarriage of justice," Carruthers said. 

Jailhouse lawyer Arthur Taylor took the case against Harris and was in court on Tuesday. 

"For the integrity of our criminal justice system I'm hoping the Court of Appeal will quash the conviction and not order a retrial," Taylor said. 

The Crown started their case this afternoon, focusing on the evidence from two trampers who claimed they saw Tamihere in the area where the couple went missing. 

They say they saw Tamihere with a woman who looked like Paakkonen. 

Now aged 70, Tamihere wasn't in court on Tuesday. He was released on parole in 2010 and spends his days working at an Auckland Marae. 

He told Whakaata Māori three years ago it's been a long and tough journey to try and clear his name. 

"I've been arguing the case since day one. Then it was knock back, knock back, knock back," he said.  

This hearing marks the biggest chance he's had to argue his case.