Peter Ellis injustice swept under Government carpet

I don’t know much about the specific legal arguments behind the Government ruling out an independent inquiry into the Peter Ellis case but it appears that again the easy option is to sweep it under a carpet and try to forget it ever happened.

There’s serious question marks over the whole case that dates back to 1993. To learn properly from it requires an honest and thorough inquiry into what went wrong.

Sad to see Justice Minister Amy Adams denying that opportunity.

It looks like another case of the system protecting major botch ups from the scrutiny they deserve and should get.

Details from Stuff: Government declines inquiry into convictions of Peter Ellis

The Government has ruled against an independent inquiry into the sexual assault convictions of Peter Ellis.

Justice Minister Amy Adams has declined a request from supporters of Ellis for a commission of inquiry, saying it did not contain new evidence and an inquiry would not determine matters of guilt.

The push for an inquiry was led by former National Party leader Don Brash, who along with Dunedin author Lynley Hood, wrote to Adams in December last year, calling for an investigation.

Ellis was convicted on 13 charges of abusing children in his care at the Christchurch Civic Creche, in 1993. He was sentenced to ten years imprisonment.

Since then, his convictions have been the subject of extensive consideration including two appeals, an inquiry by former Chief Justice Sir Thomas Eichelbaum, and a 2003 petition to Parliament. In 2008, a similar request for a Commission of Inquiry was made to and rejected by former Justice Minister Simon Power.

Adams said today she had declined the request, because the Inquiries Act could not be used to determine someone’s guilt. Nor had Ellis exhausted all of his appeal rights within the judicial system.

“Furthermore, the request is almost identical to the one made to former Justice Minister Power, and contains no new evidence. I’m not satisfied there is any new information or development that warrants reconsideration of Mr Power’s decision,” she said.

Sad  to see that one refusal to investigate properly is used an excuse to refuse another.

In their letter, Brash and Hood wrote in the history of New Zealand criminal justice, “no petition to Parliament has been supported by such a weight of political, legal and scholarly authority as the 2003 petition calling for a Royal Commission of Inquiry”.

It also cited a “wave of child abuse hysteria that swept the western world in the 1990s”.

It remains a stain on our policing and judicial systems if it remains undealt with.

Of all the controversial historical cases I see the least dispute over the Ellis case, with little sign of claims that the system got it right.

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