The Minister of Justice Simon Power says he will consider a request to launch a Commission of Inquiry into the Peter Ellis case. Supporter and author of A City Possessed Lynley Hood joined Breakfast.
Lynley Hood (LH) - Good morning
PW - Why after 15 years is this so important still?
LH - Itís a case that doesnít go away for a whole lot of reasons. Not just the questionable conviction of Peter Ellis which to anybody who has looked at it closely with half a brain can see that it was a botched investigation into a crime that never happened, but the ramifications go so wide to all the other peoples whose careers were damaged and destroyed by the case, and a city ripped apart all on the basis of an ambiguous comment by a three year old boy. And you ask, how can this happen?
PW - How do you see a commission of inquiry if it is ordered? How would it best work?
LH - A Commission of Inquiry can go so far beyond the issues of the guilt or innocence of Peter Ellis. It can actually look at what happened, How, as I said, an ambiguous comment from a three year old boy can rip apart a whole city and destroy so many lives. It can look at what is wrong with the investigative procedures that canít distinguish between true and false allegation and a justice system that canít reliably separate out the guilty from the innocent, and thatís a worry for everybody. And it can look at issues like the belief that still affects men in teaching that all men, even the most decent of men are in part a dangerous sexual predator that canít be trusted around children. That is just so toxic and it needs to be examined.
PW - For people who are not entirely aware of the case, I mean itís been through our justice system, one trial two court of appeals, three petitions to the Governor General, and a general inquiry by a High Court judge, a Ministerial Inquiry, a Select Committee inquiry. Why are you hopeful that this will turn out a different result?
LH - Well those issues just looked at the case of Peter Ellis and they repeatedly upheld the most absurd allegations that he was convicted on, so to most New Zealanders it is clear the justice system has failed and it has failed repeatedly, and cannot self correct, and thatís why you need a Commission of Inquiry . Thatís really the only option left, and it can look so much wider
PW - Peter Ellis has always had very high profile support. He certainly does in this case. How confident are you...Simon Power said he will consider it....that it actually may happen?
LH - Well, we have to be hopeful. Itís not going away.
PW - Lynley, thankyou very much for joining us this morning. Peter Ellis supporter, Lynley Hood joining us from Dunedin.
Part B: Pippa Wetzell discussing case with co-host Paul Henry
PW† (Addressing TV audience) - It is a very interesting one. What do you think? Should we have a new inquiry? We would love to hear your view on this case. You can text us, or email us email@example.com †
Paul Henry (PH) - I mean the thing is that Peter Ellis may or may not be guilty of a great range of different things. The fact is that it is impossible for him to be guilty as charged. Impossible, and as Lynley Hood said there anyone with half a brain reviewing the evidence can see that
PW - Well there have been people with half brains, and full brains who have reviewed it and yet they seem to go back to some of the initial findings
PH - Yes, I donít think... The case has never been reviewed in itís entirety though, has it. It just seems extraordinary to me
PW - In some of Lynleyís notes, the Arthur Allan Thomas case went through screeds and screeds of investigation and inquiries before finally, and as we have all accepted now, he is an innocent man.
PH - Yep. And there will be a lot of people watching who will remember all of those inquiries. They slowly eeked their way out. Mark my words, Scott Watson will be next. In fact Scott Watson could end up being ahead of Peter Ellis the way things are going there. And thereís going to be a lot of litigation there. That manís going to be very wealthy at the end of the day, and deserves to be quite frankly