11 Feb 2019

Jailhouse lawyer Arthur Taylor enjoying life on outside

3:48 pm on 11 February 2019

Jailhouse lawyer Arthur William Taylor was amazed to find clothes from the Warehouse priced the same as they were 14 years ago before re-entering prison.

Arthur Taylor in a cafe after being released from prison this morning.

Arthur Taylor in a cafe after being released from prison this morning. Photo: RNZ

Checkpoint's Lisa Owen was with Mr Taylor when he was released. Her interview with him will be on Checkpoint after 5pm.

Taylor was serving a 17-year cumulative sentence in the high-security block at Paremoremo that was due to end in 2022, and was granted parole last month.

"Beautiful," he said, as he was out and about today enjoying food unavailable in prison, including ham salad sandwiches, readjusting to life on the outside.

The 62-year-old has spent 39 of the past 46 years in prison, and has mounted several successful private prosecutions from behind bars.

He has an extensive history of offending back to 1972, when he appeared in the Youth Court on a forgery charge.

He has accumulated more than 150 convictions, many involving dishonesty, and others for fraud, perverting the course of justice, escaping, arson, and aggravated robbery.

He has been denied parole several times, but until this decision was still deemed too dangerous to release.

Using his self-taught legal skills, Taylor has mounted several successful private prosecutions from behind bars, and has campaigned for prisoners' right to vote.

Taylor was released at 6am and was greeted by his sister and two friends at the carpark of Waikeria Prison.

He raised his hands above his head and said it was a great day to be free.

Taylor brought boxes of legal documents with him upon his release.

He will spend the day with his sister and his nieces and nephews, who lives in Paeroa, before heading to Auckland for some legal business.

But he has been paroled to Dunedin and will be flying south after a few days.

An interview with Arthur Taylor just after he was released will be aired on Checkpoint tonight:

Taylor is expected to continue his legal advocacy and intends to enrol to study law further.

Friend and advocate Hazel Heal has praised the jailhouse lawyer's mental strength, saying it will help him adjust to life outside prison.

Ms Heal told Morning Report she'll be helping support Taylor in Dunedin where he's been paroled.

"I think he's just going to keep practising law, he's been doing that, he's been working basically fulltime in his head the whole time he's inside. He's just now going to have tools and databases and access to work more efficiently and I think he'll be an incredible lawyer."

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