Criticism of Ellis decision

The Press reports:

The decision was surprising given that Attorney-General Chris Finlayson and Police Minister Judith Collins had signed a 2003 petition calling for a commission of inquiry, he said.

As did many professors of law.

Rich said the decision was “sadly predictable”.

“It’s interesting we’re spending millions on a Supreme Court building but still directing people to the Privy Council, which I doubt Peter Ellis will be able to access because of the expense,” she said.


“In the court of public opinion, Peter Ellis has already been pardoned.”

On most controversial cases, there are different views on guilt vs innocence. The Ellis case is remarkable in the huge number of people who view his convictions as unsafe. I don’t think I know anyone at all who thinks the convictions should stand.

The case was a fundamental demonstration of the justice system failing to correct itself, she said. “Every country has found a way to deal with those injustices.”

And this is where I think the Minister made the wrong decision.  Of course the officials were always going to have dozens of reasons to say don’t upset the status quo. But the reason we have a Minister in charge, not officials, is for the ability to look at the wider picture.

Brash said he was surprised at the decision because the request was presented with such strong arguments and the 2003 petition had been signed by major figures.

“The New Zealand justice system has let Peter Ellis down and it should have been New Zealand that sorted it out.”

Had he won the 2005 general election, a commission of inquiry would have been ordered, he said.

I really recommend people interested in this case read the Lynley Hood book. If you do you will, like Don Brash, be convinced that the current convictions are very unsafe.

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