The Christchurch Civic Crèche Case

Law Reform Index

Law of Evidence - Section 23G

Sunday Star Times
July 20, 2003

Issue is pro-justice
Letter to the Editor
by Bill Wright  (Pleasant Point)

I am sad that that Debbie Kean is sad about the new Ellis initiative (July 13) but I think she misses the point. The issue is not so much about Peter Ellis as about judicial procedures that are flawed. The initiative is not anti-feminist or anti-religious but rather pro-justice.

The trial, several appeals and inquiries to which Kean refers were narrowly focused and circumscribed by rigid procedures that, under the rules of evidence relating to experts, inexorably tilted the case in favour of the prosecution.

In the absence of "expert" evidence admitted under section 23G of the Evidence Act, there would have been no case. In his report, Sir Thomas Thorp noted difficulties with section 23G and recommended repeal.

About Kean's parting shot at Lynley Hood; an author publishing on such a controversial subject can hardly avoid publicity. But Hood can take heart from the fact that her seminal work is supported by two former prime ministers (both lawyers), numerous MPs, no less than eight Queen's Counsel, a list of lawyers and others.

Hood's scholarly, impartial and objective analysis has not been gainsaid and set against such weighty support is surely deserving of prompt consideration. Phil Goff, we're waiting.