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Commission of inquiry into Ellis convictions
Convicted Christchurch civic crèche child abuser Peter Ellis has failed in an attempt to persuade the Court of Appeal to bail him pending an appeal against conviction later this year, but his counsel now intends petitioning the Governor-General for a commission of inquiry.

In releasing its decision on 9 June 1998, the Appeal Court declined bail, saying it was ‘not overwhelmingly clear’ the 13 remaining convictions against Ellis would be quashed. The court also said Ellis was eligible for parole and ‘it may not be appropriate for him to be on bail and parole at the same time’.

Ms Ablett-Kerr is reported in The Dominion of 11 June as saying she will again petition the Governor-General seeking to have the grounds for appeal widened. (The Court said it was required to confine its consideration to the points the Governor-General referred to it). As with the petition for reconsideration, the petition for the commission of inquiry will be presented to the Governor-general. The Governor-General would seek advice from the Minister of Justice, who, in turn would seek advice from his department. The Minister would either advise the Governor General to decline the petition or if he considers the petition favourably, send a draft order-in-council approving the commission for the Cabinet to consider.

Ellis’s 4 June Court of Appeal hearing in Wellington on 1998 was held behind closed doors. The matter was adjourned after a three-hour hearing, with the verdict being announced on 9 June. Ellis is more than half way through a ten-year jail sentence after being found guilty in 1993 of 16 charges of sexually abusing children in his care. Three of the convictions were later quashed after one of his alleged victims recanted their evidence.

Ellis’s supporters had earlier petitioned the Governor General for a free pardon for Ellis,
Judith Ablett-Kerr said there may have been a miscarriage of justice because of allegedly flawed techniques used to get evidence from the children
but this was rejected. However, in late March 1998 Justice Minister Doug Graham said the Governor General Sir Michael Hardy-Boys had accepted his advice that Ellis’s case should be referred back to the Court of Appeal for further consideration. The Appeal Court can rule on whether the convictions should remain, it could have ordered a retrial or found that the original convictions were ‘safe’.

In her June 1998 submissions to the Court of Appeal, Judith Ablett-Kerr said there may have been a miscarriage of justice because of allegedly flawed techniques used to get evidence from the children, a connection between a child’s mother and a juror’s partner and the prosecution’s failure to disclose important photographs to the defence.

Ms Ablett-Kerr visited Ellis in jail following rejection of the bail application and later said she intended to petition the Governor-General for a commission of inquiry

Ms Ablett-Kerr said in March 1998, that the Court of Appeal referral was ‘incredibly significant’ and highly unusual, having occurred only six or seven times in New Zealand’s judicial history. She said ‘you could not go back to the Court of Appeal unless there were serious concerns about the verdict’. She said the Court of Appeal would have different information before it this time.

Ellis’s supporters said in May 1998 that he was determined ‘not to accept anything less than a recognition of his innocence and of the unfairness of his trial’. In the ‘normal course of events’, Ellis would appear before the Parole Board again in March 1999.

Next related article: Forward to Justice Minister on Ellis enquiryJustice Minister on Ellis enquiry
Prev related article: Back to Ellis boycotts parole hearingEllis boycotts parole hearing

Back to Peter Ellis Index
 

Peter Ellis has failed in an attempt to persuade the Court of Appeal to bail him pending an appeal against conviction

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