1 Mar 2018

Arthur Taylor still too dangerous to release - Parole Board

8:38 pm on 1 March 2018

High-profile criminal and prison escapee Arthur Taylor has lost his latest bid for parole.

Arthur Taylor in the High Court at Auckland.

Arthur Taylor in the High Court at Auckland. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

The Parole Board said the self-styled jail-house lawyer, who has spent 38 of the last 45 years in prison and mounted several successful private prosecutions from inside, was still too dangerous to be released.

Two psychologists who assessed Taylor before the hearing came to different conclusions about his risk.

A psychologist who evaluated Taylor on behalf of Corrections told the board he continued to pose a high risk of re-offending and a moderate risk of violent offending, and recommended more rehabilitation and testing of at least a year before there was "a realistic possibility of safe release".

Another psychologist, commissioned by Taylor himself, put his risk of general reoffending at "moderate" and his risk of violent reoffending as "low".

However, neither psychologist supported Taylor's immediate release.

In his own submission, Taylor disputed the need for more prison rehab, saying he could do it in the community.

"Let's be realistic," he told the parole board.

"I'm 61 years old, what am I going to do? I'm very well-known, as your honour and I'm sure the rest of the Board will accept. I've spent an enormous amount of effort cultivating and instilling a prosocial reputation, shall we say, and that's where my whole life's going to be.

"What do you think I'm going to do?

"What would be the worst I might do, and it would be very unlikely at my age and being so well-known and having invested enormous energy into the image I've created."

The board gave Taylor credit for being "on the right path" but said it was "less confident than he was" about his current threat level.

It noted that Taylor, who had recently become engaged to a younger woman he met online, had "fooled many people before".

"The board needs to be satisfied that the 'new me' is an enduring persona and that he can, in fact, deal appropriately with the challenges that will surely arise on release," they wrote.

Taylor will next be up for parole in August 2019.

He currently has more than four years left to serve of a 17-year sentence on charges relating to firearms, drugs, kidnapping and escaping from custody.