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New evidence reveals Peter Ellis inquiry a sham

New evidence reveals Peter Ellis inquiry a sham

Peterellis.org.nz spokesman Richard Christie reports that new research into the Peter Ellis case casts doubt on the safety of Ellis' convictions. The research reveals that Sir Thomas Eichelbaum's Inquiry was carried out in a manner designed to bury rather than examine doubts previously raised by three of the world's foremost experts on children’s testimony. It calls into question the conduct of officials and has ensured that the case will not be going away anytime soon.

The New Zealand Law Journal recently published a two-part paper entitled New evidence in the Peter Ellis case, [1] by researcher Ross Francis. The author refers to the latest research into child sexual abuse and cites documents which have been released only in the last year.

Ross Francis exposes the lengths to which the then Attorney-General, the Hon Margaret Wilson, went in order to prevent an inquiry into the Peter Ellis case. Wilson’s efforts may have been a factor in Cabinet’s decision to establish a ministerial inquiry rather than a Commission of Inquiry.

The research paper exposes how the ministerial inquiry was manipulated by Justice Ministry officials, in particular by its then-chief legal counsel Val Sim. Among the new revelations:

  • Eichelbaum accepted Sim’s advice to “discount” Sir Thomas Thorp’s Opinion for the Secretary for Justice [2] (1999) regarding the case. Thorp had expressed strong concern about the case. On Sim’s advice Thorp’s report was not publicly released until after Eichelbaum’s report had been released.
  • Eichelbaum accepted Sim’s advice to reject three of the world’s leading experts on child testimony, each of whom had been nominated by Ellis’ legal counsel.
  • Eichelbaum accepted Sim’s advice to reject any expert who had a “close publishing history” with each of the experts nominated by Ellis’ counsel.
  • Eichelbaum accepted Sim’s advice to talk to American law professor Thomas Lyon. Lyon’s views in regard to child sexual abuse have been subject to strong academic criticism.
  • The name of Louise Sas, a little-known Canadian psychologist and child advocate, was supplied to Eichelbaum. The Justice Ministry has been unable to explain how Sas’ name came to his attention. None of the parties to the inquiry nominated Sas
  • Sas had published no peer-reviewed research on the interviewing of child abuse victims yet Val Sim and officials led Eichelbaum to believe that she had “high standing”.
  • Officials advised Phil Goff that “about six” experts were likely to be appointed as advisors to the inquiry. Although Eichelbaum was aware of this advice, he selected only two experts.
  • Eichelbaum advised the then Justice Minister, the Hon Phil Goff, that both international experts believed the children’s evidence was reliable. That was incorrect. He also claimed that allegations arising out of the conviction children’s later interviews generally did not result in charges. That too, was incorrect.
  • Justice Ministry officials cannot produce a number of important and sensitive documents pertaining to the Peter Ellis case.

Ministry officials, orchestrated by Val Sim, interfered with Eichelbaum’s inquiry to such an extent that justice has not been done. The inquiry did not properly examine the issues that motivated its establishment and that had so concerned Sir Thomas Thorp in his advice to the Secretary for Justice. The process, which involved clear bias and conflicts of interest, was a sham.

A Royal commission of inquiry into the case must be urgently conducted.

[1] <http://www.peterellis.org.nz/docs/2007/new_evidence.pdf>

[2] <http://www.peterellis.org.nz/docs/1999/Thorp/index.htm>

ENDS

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