Prisoner Arthur Taylor seeks smoking ban ruling

STEVE HOPKINS
Last updated 11:52 04/01/2013
Arthur Taylor
COURT BATTLE: Arthur Taylor.

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Career criminal Arthur Taylor will next week seek a High Court ruling to force Corrections to drop their prison smoking ban, having already successfully argued it was unlawful.
 
On December 20, 2012 Justice Murray Gilbert ruled the nationwide ban which had been in force for 17 months was "unlawful, invalid and of no effect".

But despite the ruling, Corrections said inmates were still forbidden to smoke or possess tobacco related products because the Government changed Corrections regulations classifying them as contraband.

It said Justice Gilbert's decision did not relate to those changes.

Taylor today said he hoped to file papers with the High Court in Auckland by Monday seeking an urgent hearing and a judicial review.

The 56-year-old non-smoker wants a declaration from the court declaring the amendments Corrections are relying on to keep the ban in place are ''unlawful, invalid and of no effect''.

''These regulations are a device to thwart the court's original judgement and they're not in the best interests of the judicial system,'' Taylor said.
 
He will argue the Smokefree Environments Act and New Zealand Bill of Rights Act "take precedence over any changes Corrections have made".

Following the original court ruling Taylor said his fellow Paremoremo inmates were ''rapt'' and had ''all been congratulating me and shaking my hand".

"But at the same time, they're powerless in here and they fully expect Corrections to ignore the decision."

Taylor lodged proceedings against the manager of Auckland Prison over the ban in September 2011 and a judicial review hearing took place in August last year.

He argued the prison manager had no power under the Corrections Act to introduce the ban and had not used his "discretion in doing so", instead acting under the direction of the chief executive.

Taylor, who has racked up more than 130 convictions, represented himself during proceedings after a request for legal aid was declined in December 2011 because, according to the Legal Services Agency, his "prospects of success are not sufficient to justify a grant of aid".

Challenging the ban had cost Taylor about $25,000, he claimed

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