Bid to invalidate jail recall fails

Arthur Taylor. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Arthur Taylor. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Arthur Taylor has failed in an urgent bid to have his recall to prison declared unlawful.

Taylor, a high-profile former prison inmate who during his many years behind bars has taken several successful legal actions against the Crown, has been on parole for much of this year.

However, he was recalled to prison by the Parole Board on Monday, after which he immediately lodged a habeas corpus application, claiming he had been unlawfully detained.

Yesterday in the High Court at Dunedin, Justice Rachel Dunningham turned down Taylor’s application, saying she would supply written reasons within 48 hours.

Taylor said that on December 4 the Parole Board had dismissed an application by the Corrections Department to issue an interim recall order to send him back to prison, and set the matter down for a hearing in January.

On December 7, Taylor was summonsed by the police to appear in the Dunedin District Court on 11 drugs charges.

"If the police thought I was a risk, they would have arrested me," Taylor — who appeared via video-link — told the High Court yesterday.

Four days later, on December 11, the Parole Board recalled Taylor to prison.

Taylor said yesterday his recall was invalid and unlawful as the order had been granted on almost the same grounds as it had been previously been turned down on, and there was no new evidence which showed he posed any increased risk to the public.

On December 4 the board knew that he was facing charges but did not deem that enough in itself to recall him, Taylor said.

"[The board] had full knowledge of all the background."

For the Department of Corrections, Barnaby Hawes said the second recall application was advanced on a different basis, and that in general Parole Board matters were not subject to habeus corpus but dealt with in other ways.

"It is rare that the High Court becomes involved in Parole Board decisions of this kind . . . this is not a matter for this court at this time."

Taylor is due back in the court in Dunedin today on drugs charges.

He told the Otago Daily Times last week he was innocent of the allegations and would enter not-guilty pleas when he appeared.

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