The Jailhouse Lawyer

New Zealand’s most notorious prison rights activist.


In 2016, Taylor brought a private prosecution for perjury against Witness C, who already had permanent name suppression. Witness C had testified against David Tamihere, leading to Tamihere’s conviction for the murders of Urban Höglin and Heidi Paakkonen on the Coromandel Peninsula in 1989. In August 2017, Witness C was found guilty on eight charges of perjury. 


In December 2010 Parliament amended the Electoral Act 1993, extending to all prisoners a prohibition on voting that was formerly restricted to prisoners sentenced to three or more years’ imprisonment. In Taylor v Attorney-General, Taylor sought to have this extension overturned, although before Parliament even passed the bill, Attorney-General Chris Finlayson had declared that “the blanket disenfranchisement of prisoners appears to be inconsistent with Section 12 of the Bill of Rights Act and that it cannot be justified”


Arthur Taylor now lives a humble life in Dunedin. After spending over 38 years on the inside, he knows a thing or two about the system. Arthur is inundated with requests from people from all works of life on a daily basis. If you’re looking for help, advice or case preparation – Arthur maybe just the person you need to talk to. Please use the form on the contact page to get in touch today.

Arthur on Wikipedia.

Arthur William Taylor (born 1956) is a high-profile former prison inmate who served time in Auckland Prison at ParemoremoAuckland, New Zealand. In 2016 he had spent 38 years in prison and had a total of 152 convictions.[2As a prison inmate, he achieved a public profile as a “prison lawyer” due to initiating court action on behalf of himself and prisoners’ rights.

Prison Escapes

Taylor says he has escaped from prison twelve times, including twice in Australia. In 1998, he and three others, including murderer Graeme Burton, escaped from Auckland Prison by scaling the walls at Paremoremo, snipping through the wire at the top and getting away in a waiting Toyota Hiace. They spent a few days in a millionaire’s bach in the Coromandel. Taylor was caught after a massive police operation and returned to prison. He was released at the end of his sentence in 2001.

Once described by a Court of Appeal judge as having a better legal mind than many barristers, Taylor had been put on a path of crime afterbeing sent to the Epuni Boys’ Home as a teenage truant. He committed his first criminal offence at 16 and went on to amass 150 criminal convictions before 2007 for fraud and dishonesty offences, burglaries, and the mastermiding of armed bank robberies.

But what really made his name was an audacious prison break from Paremoremo, New Zealand’s maximum-security facility in 1998. The escape plot had been meticulously planned over the prison’s phones; masks, camouflage clothing and bulletproof vests were smuggled into the prison, while equiptment, inclduing firearms, was hidden outside the walls to help Taylor and his fellow fugitives evade capture. 

Three inmates went on the run with Taylor, including two convicted murderers, Graeme Burton and Darren John Crowley, as well as armed robber Matthew Thompson. The escape had triggered a massive police manhunt. The fugitives spent six days on the run in Muriwai and then the Corromandel Peninsula, where they hid in a the bush and hunkered down in a $2.5 million holiday home of a wealthy American businessman.

Eventually, the police caught up with them. Taylor had three years added to his sentence. It wasn’t the first time he’d escaped from custody, nor would it be the last.

Let’s work together.