The Christchurch Civic Creche Case

News Reports - Home

2009 Index

October 14 2009; 16:52

Brash, Hood disappointed by Peter Ellis inquiry rejection

Don Brash


Former National leader Don Brash and Dunedin author Lynley Hood say they are disappointed with the Government's decision to deny a commission of inquiry into the case of convicted paedophile Peter Ellis.

Ellis, a former worker at the Christchurch Civic Childcare Centre, was convicted and jailed on 16 counts of indecency in relation to seven children in 1993.

He was released from prison in 2000 after serving two-thirds of a 10-year sentence.

Dr Brash, former National MP Katherine Rich and Hood led a bid for an inquiry into the case, asking for all aspects of the investigation and legal processes to be re-investigated.

Justice Minister Simon Power declined the request today , saying Ellis had not exhausted all his appeal rights.

"After a careful and comprehensive examination of the case, and consultation with my Cabinet colleagues, I have concluded that Mr Ellis' outstanding right to seek leave to appeal to the Privy Council means the request for a commission of inquiry should be declined," Mr Power said.

Hood, who has written a book, A City Possessed, pointing out alleged flaws in the Ellis case, told NZPA Mr Power had "completely missed the point" of the letter requesting the inquiry.

"We made it very clear that, in our view and in the view of a great many New Zealanders, the commission of inquiry needs to go into the circumstances and processes that led to the whole Civic Creche case, not just the conviction of Peter Ellis," she said.

"The case was like a brush fire that spread through Christchurch and ripped apart communities and gave families enormous stress. It destroyed the careers of about a dozen well-trained and committed childcare workers who worked at the centre, so it goes a whole lot wider than Peter Ellis."

Hood said it was hard to imagine how Mr Power had missed the point and focused simply on Ellis.

She said Mr Power's statement that Ellis had options to appeal his case was a cop out.

"The thing about legal processes is they can go round and round forever," she said.

" That's exactly the same argument that was used by the solicitor general at the time of the Arthur Allan Thomas case -- the then Prime Minister Rob Muldoon said `this is nonsense, we've got to stop this going round and round, pardon him, have a commission of inquiry'."

Dr Brash said he was disappointed the request had been declined because there was so much heavyweight support behind the petition.

That included signatures from 11 law professors and prominent politicians.

He said he didn't know whether or not Ellis was guilty, but it was clear he had been "very poorly served by the New Zealand justice system" and that needed to be put right.

Dr Brash said his interest in the case was no stronger than anyone else's until he read Hood's book in 2003 at the urging of his son. The book had left him "shocked".

While Labour had also denied a request for a commission of inquiry when in power, Dr Brash said he was hopeful National would have "done better than that".




14 October 2009 - 5:46pm Sally D (not verified)

That's clever of Mr Power; insist Ellis must go to the Privy Council for resolution but quietly refuse all requests for financial assistance made by the unemployed Ellis, funds that are needed to take the case to the UK.

Judicial and political treatment of this case remains fetid, Power has just dirtied his copybook.