One News
June 25 2003

Calls start after Ellis reward offered

An Auckland businessman offering a reward in the Peter Ellis case says he has already had half a dozen calls.

NBR Publisher Barry Colman is offering $100,000 to anyone who gives fresh evidence which leads to a Commission of Inquiry into Peter Ellis' convictions.

Ellis spent seven years behind bars after being found guilty of abusing children at a
Christchurch creche.

He has always maintained his innocence and says he is moved Colman is putting so much money into the campaign to prove it.

"To some extent I was quite speechless, it's quite startling. And the fact that it's independent of myself and Mrs Ablett-Kerr's just come from out of the's humbling."

Barry Colman has been a member of Amnesty International for many years and says he is a strong believer in civil liberty.

He says he is convinced Ellis is not guilty of any crime.

"Anyone who can come forward as a whistleblower at this stage, who knows how that case was constructed would be of material new evidence and I think that might get the whole inquiry opened and going again."

Colman is one of 800 high profile New Zealanders who have signed a petition to Parliament calling for a Commission of Inquiry.

Justice Minister Phil Goff admits it is only likely if something new does come out.

"New evidence can be put back before the courts, that is the appropriate place where justice is done and has always been done in
New Zealand. But it needs to be evidence not already considered by the original trial, the two Courts of Appeal and the Ministerial Inquiry.

Colman has read Lynley Hood's book A City Possessed and says he wants to see if he can do anything to drag out any new evidence from somebody who "may know how the evidence was manipulated".

He says two former police officers have offered their help and he is confident something will come to light.

"I'm hoping that the new evidence will come from people who were working inside the case itself. We believe that there's been a disastrous bias of evidence against Peter Ellis and that's why he was convicted."