Tamihere parole breach 'ridiculous'

SIMON DAY
Last updated 16:23 24/02/2013
David Tamihere
Fairfax NZ
BAIL CONDITIONS: David Tamihere appearing at the Waitakere District court in Auckland, May, 2012.
John Tamihere
Fairfax NZ
SPEAKING OUT: Radio Live host and former MP, John Tamihere.

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Charges of parole breach against convicted double-murderer David Tamihere, who was flown over an area he was banned from visiting, are "ridiculous," said John Tamihere, former MP and brother of David.

"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," John Tamihere said.

David Tamihere was banned from going to the Coromandel because of fears he would move the never-recovered body of Swedish tourist Heidi Paakonen, a court heard.

Tamihere, 59, was released from prison in November 2010 with strict parole conditions, including that he stay out of the area in which he murdered Paakonen and boyfriend Urban Hoglin in 1989.

But he flew in a helicopter over the scene when the Sunday television programme convinced him to agree to an interview and flyover. He was charged with breaching his parole conditions for doing so.

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

Tamihere believed the flyover had no plans of touching down on land he was barred from visiting and therefore he had no intention of breaching the conditions of his parole, John Tamihere said.

"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. What's the harm?" John Tamihere said.

"What's more, to believe that you are not going to touch down on terra firma and to believe that you were just going to go for a ride after 21 years in the lock up, I would have gone for the ride too," John Tamihere said.

The Corrections Department is wasting time and money, charging Tamihere for breach of parole when there is no way he could have committed a crime from the helicopter, his brother 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?" John Tamihere said.

"What is the issue that they take umbrage with, in terms of him getting up to any practical and pragmatic breach of a parole order condition?"

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"If the answer to that question is none, then why are you continuing to prosecute this and waste money," he said.

Tamihere was convicted in 1990 of the murders of the two Swedish backpackers, partly based on alleged confessions to fellow inmates that he tied up Hoglin and sexually assaulted him, raped Paakonen and killed the pair.

Paakonen's body has never been found but the discovery of Hoglin's remains conflicted with testimony from an inmate who said Tamihere spoke of cutting up the bodies and throwing them in the sea.

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

"I support my brothers 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.

- Stuff

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