Tamihere charged for taking flight

Last updated 09:11 25/02/2013
David Tamihere
Fairfax NZ
BAIL CONDITIONS: David Tamihere appearing at the Waitakere District court in Auckland, May, 2012.

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Convicted double murderer David Tamihere being charged with breaching parole after he flew over an area he was banned from visiting is "ridiculous," his brother John Tamihere says.

"It goes from the sublime to the ridiculous for those blokes and they waste a lot of money. If anyone in their right mind thought that he could commit a crime at 3000 feet, he would have to be close to Jesus Christ," Tamihere, a former MP, said.

David Tamihere, 59, was convicted in 1990 of the murders of the two Swedish backpackers Heidi Paakonen and Urban Hoglin. He was banned from going to the Coromandel because of fears he would move the never-recovered body of Paakonen.

He was released from prison in November 2010 with strict parole conditions, including that he stay out of the Coromandel area.

However, he flew over the scene in a helicopter when the television programme Sunday convinced him to do so for an interview and was charged with breaching parole.

Tamihere defended the charge in the Waitakere District Court on Friday where it emerged that the Parole Board had drawn an exclusion zone for him around the Coromandel Peninsula.

He believed the helicopter had no plans to touch down on the land and therefore he had no intention of breaching the conditions of his parole, his brother claimed.

"The issue is does he have culpability in a normal person's intent... because he determined he wasn't going to touch down on any land," John said.

"You really have to think, if he is not landing and the reporter is on board the helicopter is not going to help him dig the remains up, what is the issue?"

Tamihere maintains his innocence and there will always be questions that remain over the murders, John added.

"I support my brother's right to a fair day in court. That is not going to happen because of the (time passed). But there will be constant doubt over the safety of that verdict," he said.

At the time of the murders Tamihere was living rough in the Coromandel, on the run after being convicted of sexually assaulting and threatening to kill a woman. He also had a prior conviction for the manslaughter of a young Auckland woman, Mary Barcham, whom he killed in 1972.

Judge Mather reserved his decision until next month.

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