The Christchurch Civic Creche Case

News Reports - Home

2008 Index


One News
March 28 2008; 08:40

No Royal Commission for Ellis

The government has reaffirmed its position that there will be no Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Peter Ellis case.

Supporters and Ellis' lawyers are seeking the inquiry into his 1993 conviction for molesting children at the Christchurch Civic Creche.

Ellis has always maintained his innocence and served two thirds of his 10-year sentence.

But in a letter to an Ellis supporter, Associate Justice Minister Rick Barker has ruled out the option, saying that a commission cannot be convened to determine guilt or innocence as its primary purpose.

He says that if Ellis wants to pursue the matter, he should do so through the Privy Council.

Ellis's lawyer Judith Ablett-Kerr is questioning why a New Zealand case is being pushed toward the jurisdiction of a British court.

Ablett-Kerr says frustrating does not even come close to describing how she feels after having the request for a Royal Commission of Inquiry turned down. Ablett-Kerr believed articles in the New Zealand Law Journal and an Otago University study cast both the convictions and a ministerial inquiry into doubt.

She says Associate Justice Minister Rick Barker has relied on a prior select committee and the ministerial inquiry to make his decision.

The author of a book on the Peter Ellis case is rejecting the government's reasons for refusing the commission of inquiry. Lynley Hood, who wrote A City Possessed, says the case is not just about Peter Ellis.

And a change of leadership has seen a change of stance from the National Party on the case. Prior to the 2005 election, then party leader Don Brash pledged National would institute a Commission of Inquiry into the case if his party won. With the issue again in the spotlight, current National leader John Key can't say if his party still holds the same view. He says he would have to take it up with his caucus.