The Christchurch Civic Creche Case

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October 14 2009; 16:31

Commission of inquiry for Ellis declined

A request for a commission of inquiry into the case of convicted paedophile Peter Ellis has been declined by the Government.

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.

The request for a commission of inquiry was initiated by former National MPs Don Brash and Katherine Rich, along with author Lynley Hood, who wanted all aspects of the investigation and legal processes relating to the case 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.

The initiators of the request had asked for the commission to have the power to recommend a pardon for Ellis if it found there had been a miscarriage of justice.

"Mr Ellis' outstanding appeal rights have a significant bearing on the suitability of an inquiry and its ability to achieve finality at this point in the case's history," Mr Power said.

He said the justice system was independent of the Government and it wouldn't be appropriate to accept the request.

"Other reasons for declining the request include that the Commissions of Inquiry Act is not well designed for an inquiry into the safety of particular criminal convictions, and there is a question about whether it is legally possible to order an inquiry into such convictions under this Act."

Ellis' lawyer, Judith Ablett-Kerr QC, has previously talked about filing an application for special leave to appeal to the Privy Council, but has not yet done so.

Hood has written a book pointing out alleged flaws in the police investigation and case involving Ellis.