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Ellis Inquiry

Justice Minister Phil Goff said today that the report back date for the Ministerial Inquiry into Mr Peter Ellis's case being carried out by retired Chief Justice Sir Thomas Eichelbaum has been extended until 28 February 2001.

Sir Thomas has asked for an extension of time and this has been granted.

"The delay is regrettable, as I'm sure all parties involved are anxious to see the matter resolved one way or the other.

"The primary reason for the extension has been to allow for the engagement of high calibre international experts to assist the Inquiry.

"It is important that Sir Thomas receives the benefit of the best advice available. The reality is that the best people are in high demand and to a degree we have to work around their schedules.

"It has also taken considerably longer than anticipated to arrange the legal representation for the creche families involved. These arrangements needed to be completed before the process to appoint international experts could formally begin.

"The delay will not have any impact on the overall budget for the inquiry," Mr Goff said.

Mr Goff announced the Ministerial Inquiry on 10 March 2000 and the original reporting date was 31 August 2000.

Sir Thomas Eichelbaum had been asked to look into the matters that the Court of Appeal indicated it could not appropriately consider. In particular, to identify current best practice for investigating mass allegation sexual abuse cases, and to determine whether these practices were followed in Mr Ellis's case. Mr Goff also asked Sir Thomas to seek the opinion of at least two internationally recognised experts in the area.

ENDS

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