One News
June 24 2003

Ellis petition fails to move Minister

The Justice Minister says he remains opposed to a further inquiry into the case of former creche worker Peter Ellis despite a new petition presented to Parliament.

The petition contains the signatures of dozens of high-profile New Zealanders, among others, who want a Royal Commission into Ellis's 1993 convictions for child sex offences.

National List MP Don Brash is one of those behind the petition and says it has a clear intention.

" investigate this case fully and hopefully to end for all time, what appears to have been a very serious miscarriage of justice."

The petition reads like a who's who of
New Zealand - the signatures include rower Erin Baker, cartoonist Murray Ball, novelist Marilyn Duckworth, writer Witi Ihimaera and poet Brian Turner.

Prominent unionist Ken Douglas has signed along with historian Michael King, former prime ministers Mike Moore and David Lange and
Dunedin mayor Sukhi Turner.

Media law expert Professor John Burrows and Queen's Counsels Peter Williams and John Rowan have signed along with retired High Court judge Laurence Grieg.

Their signatures were prompted by the book A City Possessed , which focused on perceived shortcomings in the creche investigation.

Author Lynley Hood says the time has come for new action on the case.

"There is now broad public and professional consensus that in the Christchurch Civic Creche case the justice system failed and failed catastrophically."

However Justice Minister Phil Goff says concerns he once had about the Peter Ellis investigation have been cleared up.

He says the petition will be considered by Parliament, but fresh evidence would be needed before a new inquiry is considered.

Goff says the case has already been well canvassed by two hearings in the Court of Appeal and a ministerial inquiry conducted by a former Chief Justice in 2001.

Peter Ellis deliberately avoided the presentation on Tuesday and would not be interviewed.

However former colleague and creche supervisor Gaye Davidson says it is a huge burden to carry.

"We just want the whole thing to be taken away. The cloud of living under the accusation of child abuse will never leave me until that happens."

It is now up to Parliament's Justice select committee to consider the petition.