The Justice Minister has declined a request from supporters of Peter Ellis for a Commission of Inquiry into his sexual assault convictions. Ellis, an openly-gay man, was convicted of abusing children in his care at the Christchurch Civic Creche in the early 90s. The case was based on opinions of child psychologists and statements given by children, which included bizarre claims of forced night time excursions across the building's rooftops, children imprisoned in metal cages hanging from the creche's ceilings and extreme physical torture for which there was no physical or behavioural evidence. Lynley Hood published a book about the case titled A City Possessed, which cast extreme doubt on the case and verdict, and the interview methods which were used. Last year she and former politician Don Brash wrote to Justice Minister Amy Adams asking for an overseas judge to review the entire case. Ellis’ his convictions have been the subject of two appeals, an inquiry by former Chief Justice Sir Thomas Eichelbaum and two overseas experts, 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. Amy Adams says she has carefully considered the public interest and legal issues, and decided to decline the request for an inquiry. “The new Inquiries Act 2013 is clear that a Commission of Inquiry is not an appropriate vehicle for inquiring into the correctness of a person’s convictions.” She says the request is almost identical to the one rejected by Minister Simon Power in 2008, and contains no new evidence. “I’m not satisfied there is any new information or development that warrants reconsideration of Mr Power’s decision,” Adams says. She says Ellis has also not exhausted the appeal rights available to him through the court system. “There are proper channels for Mr Ellis to challenge his convictions, if he wishes to do so. An application for leave to appeal to the Privy Council was first mentioned by Mr Ellis’s lawyer over a decade ago but has not been pursued. That option remains open, as does a further application for the Royal prerogative of mercy. “Notwithstanding the lengthy history of the case and its numerous reviews, it remains open to Mr Ellis to challenge his convictions through the proper channels, particularly if there is now new and compelling evidence relevant to his convictions that has not previously been considered. That is a matter for Mr Ellis to decide.” Ellis and his lawyers are now reported to be considering a Privy Council appeal.
Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff
First published: Wednesday, 22nd April 2015 - 8:56am
This page displays a version of a GayNZ.com article that was automatically harvested before the website closed. All of the formatting and images have been removed and some text content may not have been fully captured correctly. The article is provided here for personal research and review and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of PrideNZ.com. If you have queries or concerns about this article please email us