The Christchurch Civic Creche Case

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Media Release
15 December 2008

Ministry not impartial
Ellis case deserves Royal Commission of Inquiry

Justice Minister Simon Power is right to approach renewed calls for an inquiry into the Peter Ellis case with an open mind but he is unlikely to receive such impartial advice from his officials says spokesperson Richard Christie.

Power is seeking the advice of ministry officials in response to a recent letter by former National Party leader Don Brash, former cabinet minister Katherine Rich and by author Dr Lynley Hood who call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the case. Christie says that by seeking such advice Power risks falling into the same trap that has ensnared previous ministers of justice.

For a decade Ministry of Justice officials have consistently resisted calls for a Royal Commission of Inquiry. To save face they are unlikely to change their position, despite the judicial system demonstrating that it cannot bring finality to the case to the satisfaction of the public. That should come as no surprise since the Courts and the Eichelbaum Inquiry did not traverse all of the evidence. The Ministry has also stonewalled provision of funding for Elliss proposed appeal to the Privy Council contrary to the spirit of recommendations made by the Justice and Electoral select committee 2005 report into the case.

Rather than rely on advice from his ministry, Power has the opportunity to avail himself of the mountain of source data and impartial analysis in regard to this case that has been made available on the internet; recent research on the childrens interviews by Harlene Hayne, professor of psychology at Otago University; and by reading Dr Hoods landmark book A City Possessed.

An independent Royal Commission of Inquiry is the only avenue available which will put to rest all concerns that arise from the case and Power must find the political courage to support calls for one.