The Herald
June 24 2003

Brash hopeful of success with A-list Ellis petition

National MP Don Brash is hopeful the signatures of 140 high-profile New Zealanders will convince the Government to review Peter Ellis' conviction in the Christchurch Civic Creche child abuse case.

The petition calling for a royal commission of inquiry was started by Dr Brash and fellow National MP Katherine Rich.

Author Lynley Hood's book A City Possessed triggered the petition, which will be presented by Hood at Parliament this morning.

Ellis was sentenced to 10 years' jail in 1993.

He spent 6 1/2 years in prison and was freed in 2000, having always maintained his innocence.

Dr Brash said the petition had enjoyed "quite unexpected support". Among those reported to have signed are former prime ministers David Lange and Mike Moore, Queen's Counsel Nigel Hampton and Stuart Grieve, law professors John Burrows, John Prebble and Mark Henaghan, writers Keri Hulme, Maurice Gee and Witi Ihimaera and Dunedin Mayor Sukhi Turner.

Labour MPs David Parker and Georgina Beyer have signed, despite being advised against it by their party whip.

Early this month, Justice Minister Phil Goff said he was not persuaded there was good reason for such an inquiry.

"It has been twice to the Court of Appeal, where seven separate Court of Appeal judges have said there is no miscarriage of justice."