The Press
June 14 2003

Beyer backs Ellis inquiry petition
Martin Van Beynen

Labour MP Georgina Beyer has broken ranks with her Labour colleagues to sign a petition to force a high-level inquiry into the conviction of Peter Ellis.

National MPs Don Brash and Katherine Rich aim to collect 100 illustrious
New Zealand names for a petition to Parliament seeking a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the case.

Dunedin author Lynley Hood, whose book A City Possessed highlighted flaws in the case against Ellis, said there was no shortage of important people lining up to sign the petition.

"We may have to put one or two on the reserve bench," she said yesterday. "We're going to have fun deciding who is in the team."

Transsexual MP Georgina Beyer, who represents Wairarapa, had been the only Labour MP to sign the petition so far, Hood said.

"She has got more balls than all her colleagues put together," the author said.

Labour MPs are understandably reluctant to sign the petition as the Government has taken the position the case has been fully examined and no new evidence is available.

Labour's caucus Whip, David Benson-Pope, said the matter had been discussed in caucus on Tuesday and although no direction was given he had advised members not to sign.

The petition was actually a petition to the Government and any Labour MP could talk to Justice Minister Phil Goff about the case any time, he said. He believed the National MPs behind the petition were politicising it.

Hood said the response to the petition was exciting.

"The willingness especially of senior legal authorities to sign is very gratifying and obviously there is a deep concern the legal system has failed and failed to self correct." However, she would not hold her breath for "the
Berlin wall to fall", she said.

New Zealand history it took years of agitation before the authorities admitted they had made a mistake and faced up to correcting it. So I don't think anybody thinks it (the Royal Commission) will happen overnight."

The petition will be presented on June 24.

Ellis was convicted in 1993 of abusing children in his care at the
Christchurch civic crèche. He was released in February 2000 after serving about 6 1/2 years in jail.