Otago Daily Times
June 26 2003

No takers, but early days yet: Colman

Publisher Barry Colman's reward of $100,000 for new information leading to a royal commission of inquiry into the Peter Ellis case has sparked much interest, but no takers after the first day yesterday.

However, Mr Colman said anyone who had worked on the case and had subsequent doubts about the validity of Peter Ellis' conviction for sexual abuse would probably not call on the first day.

"It's a big step to take and the people who worked on the case are feeling defensive," he said.

But he was overwhelmed with the response to his pledge, from phone calls offering help, including one from a former police officer who said Ellis' conviction had been a miscarriage of justice, to media interviews.

"It just reflects the huge unease the
New Zealand public have about this case," he said.

The reward would be offered for one month and any information that came in would be assessed by the author of A City Possessed, Lynley Hood, to see whether it was new evidence or not.

Mr Colman would also leave the distribution of the reward to Mrs Hood and petition organisers National MPs Don Brash and Katherine Rich.

"All we can do now is play the waiting game and, with all the publicity, hope that someone comes forward."

Justice Minister Phil Goff has said new evidence would be needed before he would order an inquiry.

"The only new evidence will come from people involved in the case and someone must know in their heart of hearts an innocent man was made a scapegoat," Mr Colman said.

Christchurch Civic Creche child worker Peter Ellis was convicted of child abuse and sentenced to 10 years jail in 1993.

He spent six and a-half years in prison and was freed in 2000, having always maintained his innocence.