Peter Ellis case NZ's biggest miscarriage of justice - Simon Bridges

The case of convicted child molester Peter Ellis is "the biggest miscarriage of justice in this country," opposition leader Simon Bridges says.

"When you look at it, you see irregularities in terms of the investigation, you see some strange allegations being made and you also see something like the sense of a witch-hunt," Mr Bridges said.

Mr Ellis was found guilty of 16 sexual offences and sentenced to 10 years in jail in 1993.

Peter Ellis (ONE News)

He maintains his innocence.

Lawyer Nigel Hampton QC says the case is "a festering ulcer on the face of New Zealand justice".

"It's continuing and it shouldn't be there. It's almost 30 years now, for goodness sake," he said.

In 2015, the then National government rejected a request for a commission of inquiry into the case - and Mr Bridges says he still believes it's not needed.

However, Mr Hampton disagrees, saying Mr Ellis' case is the sort which needs to be taken to a criminal cases review commission.

"He hasn't got a white knight with deep pockets that can keep funding things. There are volunteers trying to work on his case," Mr Hampton said.

Justice Minister Andrew Little agrees, saying, "It's not good enough just to say there's been this massive miscarriage [of justice] and nothing should be done about it".

"That is the reason why we are setting up a criminal cases review commission," Mr Little said.

The commission would review cases and send them back to court if it finds concerns about the verdict, and Mr Little hopes to have a bill before Parliament by the end of the year - and passed by the middle of next year.

"We have to have safety valves to make sure that people, in the end, do get justice or the closest thing to it," Mr Little said.

Mr Bridges said: "I don't think we need another quango. I think, actually, anything a quango can do, we already, in New Zealand, have the powers to do."

But Mr Hampton said he "can think of three or four [cases] outside of Ellis that I'm looking at at the present time, wearing another hat."

For those people, and Mr Ellis, a commission can't come fast enough.

The National leader doesn't think a criminal cases review commission needs to be established.

MOST
POPULAR STORIES


Children's gym classes defended by Exercise NZ boss with most Kiwi kids not getting enough physical activity

Exercise NZ chief executive Richard Beddie has defended gym classes for children, saying that calls for kids to be outside more or to play sport aren't helpful.

Mr Beddie said less than 10 per cent of Kiwi children do enough physical activity, with gyms and community groups starting to offer classes targeting children in response.

"Children is 10 per cent, that means in the future we're going to have some major problems with obesity and type 2 diabetes for that population, we already have that," Mr Beddie told TVNZ1's Breakfast,

"This is part of the solution for that and having some offerings for children to be active."

Mr Beddie said the fact we had this issue meant calls for more sport of more outside time for kids were redundant.

"If it was easy as that we wouldn't have the problem in the first place," he said.

"The problem with saying they should be outside ... it’s clearly not working, we need to change something, playing outdoors is part of the solution just as exercise activity in a class might be part of the solution."

"The problem with sport is it appeals to certain people, particularly those that have a competitive element, but sport actually turns a whole bunch of people off."

"Simply saying it should be all about sport, it's a very 20th century solution to the problem."

Gym classes, in which Mr Beddie said kids didn't squat or bench press, were often convenient with children exercising as their parents did.

"Generally, one of the big benefits of this, it can be done at the same time as adults are exercising, cause that's part of the challenge too, we need to be active, if you've got kids part of the challenge is where do I take them or what do I do when I'm working out."

Exercise NZ chief executive Richard Beddie said calls for kids to be outside more or to play sport aren't helpful. Source: Breakfast

TODAY'S
TOP STORIES

'A government that’s in panic' - Judith Collins calls for Government to drop Regional Fuel Tax

Judith Collins says the Government is in a panic about the fuel price crisis and has called for them to cut the regional fuel tax.

Yesterday, the Government announced it was prioritising the passing of the Commerce Amendment Bill when the House resumes next week with Jacinda Ardern saying she’s "hugely concerned" at the prices consumers are currently paying at the pump.

Jacinda Ardern is promising to rush through new laws to make changes, but says the Government is not to blame for the big price hikes. Source: 1 NEWS

On TVNZ1's Breakfast today, Ms Collins said the Government's plans didn't go far enough.

"If the Government wants to do something right now, it could cut that tax, say we're not going to have that regional fuel tax, 11.5 cents a litre in Auckland plus everything else that’s going on," she said.

"Right now, with the fuel prices so high and the Government saying it's all so terrible, they've just worked that out, at 11.5 cents a litre in Auckland alone plus everything else round the country, right now is the time for the Government to say we’re going to put that on hold while we sort it out."

Mrs Collins said for every litre of petrol sold, $1.25 went to the Government and 31 cents went to the fuel companies.

"The dollar has dropped, oil prices internationally have gone up, every time that happens, the Government's tax take goes up because it's basically a percentage of the fuel."

"In my electorate Papakura for instance, people have to travel around, don’t have much choice at all and they’re the people paying for it."

The National MP says the coalition are in a panic about fuel prices. Source: Breakfast

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

Global climate target not viable for NZ economy - expert

New Zealand's economy could not sustain an emissions target that kept global warming below 1.5°C, a climate expert has said.

In the most extensive warning yet on the risks of climate change, scientists on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) say limiting warming to 1.5C, rather than 2C, is necessary to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change.

That half degree difference would change the height of sea level rise, the survival of coastal ecosystems and the availability of food and water resources, the scientists say..

Limiting warming to that target is possible but would require unprecedented changes, Prof Jim Skea, co-chair of the IPCC, said.

Nearly 90 scientists from 39 countries, including New Zealand, have spent three years on a planet saving plan, one that requires drastic action. Source: 1 NEWS

Victoria University professor of climate science Tim Naish said the target was not possible without technology - that doesn't yet exist - to extract carbon dioxide from the air.

"To me, it's an academic idea. I think that without technology we're just not going to make it.

"Although in an ideal world it would avoid a lot of climate change impact, my sense is we've just left that too late."

Prof Naish said target was not viable for New Zealand because the economy relies on the meat and dairy industry.

"We've got to reduce production and have less cows and sheep. The problem with that is it would tank our economy in the short-term. We can't do that too quickly, so there's no silver bullet for New Zealand."

"That's why I say, 1.5 is extremely hard. Two [degrees] is a challenge but achievable, but 1.5 is really pushing the limits of the possible rates of change."

He said the Paris Agreement, to keep a global temperature rise below 2C this century, was still achievable and New Zealand was going to show global leadership with the Zero Carbon Bill currently being drafted.

"The pathway that the government is exploring to be carbon zero by 2050 is not super-scary and is quite achievable and actually brings some fairly positive benefits to New Zealand's economy if we follow it."

rnz.co.nz

Black cows in a New Zealand field with vegetables growing and water irrigation system behind
Source: istock.com


Man killed pensioner days after 'hasty discharge' from mental health unit

A man who stomped a pensioner to death was just three days earlier given a "hasty discharge" from a mental health unit because it was too full, a report has found.

Gabriel Yad-Elohim was admitted into the Auckland District Health Board's Te Whetu Tawera - the mental health ward - on 17 September last year. He reported hearing voices telling him to kill people.

Doctors prescribed him anti-psychotic medication. A urine sample taken at the time showed Yad-Elohim had been using methamphetamine. There were also traces of cannabis.

The report said by 23 September - six days after his admission - Yad-Elohim was improving. He reported no longer hearing voices.

However, the report also found Yad-Elohim was "guarded in his presentation".

"Occupancy pressures required consideration of the patient being discharged that day," the report said.

The on-call psychiatrist thought it was a good idea to give him some unescorted leave from the ward before he was discharged. That happened without incident.

During his time Te Whetu, Yad-Elohim spent time in three wards and had been given 20 different nurses as his duty nurse.

He was discharged to a community facility but left after spending only one night there.

Yad-Elohim also left his medication behind. It was found by a mental health worker carrying out a check-up two days later.

When they visited the following day - on 27 September - Yad-Elohim was not there.

Evidence at his trial showed Yad-Elohim was on Auckland's Karangahape Rd at the time, trying to procure methamphetamine.

That was the day he was ripped off in a drug deal that ended in him stomping 69-year-old Michael Mulholland to death.

The report found Te Whetu was under "considerable occupancy pressure" at the time.

At Yad-Elohim's trial there was evidence that showed the ward was completely full - all 58 beds were in use.

Clinical director Peter McColl told the court he stood by his decision to discharge Yad-Elohim.

The report found that although the discharge had been planned - it was caused by the ward being full.

Overall, the report did not identify what it called "substantive care delivery problems" that contributed to the killing.

It also concluded Yad-Elohim had not hidden anything from mental health professionals. However, if that did happen - that may have been caused by the large number of staff that he saw and the difficulty in forming a close relationship with them.

"It seems very clear, however, that the considerable occupancy pressure within TWT [Te Whetu Tawera] compromised the implementation of the primary nursing model and contributed greatly to a hasty discharge."

The report made incidental findings.

One of its conclusions was that the ward should only operate at 85 to 90 percent capacity. The evidence from trial was that Te Whetu was at 100 percent at the time.

The report said when the unit was full, there was a heightened risk to care, and planning processes had to be abbreviated.

DHB blocked the release of the report

The district health board did not want RNZ News to have this report.

RNZ applied to the board under the Official Information Act. The board declined sighting privacy reasons, despite the report being part of the evidence at trial and Yad-Elohim's medical history being extensively canvassed.

RNZ has filed a complaint with the Ombudsman.

In the meantime, RNZ filed an application to the High Court for the document because it was on the court file.

The board again opposed its release sighting privacy.

But Justice van Bohemen found the report was in the public interest.

"Whether or not the care Mr Yad-Elohim received at Te Whetu Tawera bore directly on Mr Yad-Elohim's offending, that care and the review of that care in the report were part of the relevant factual background and were of public interest."

At Yad-Elohim's sentencing Justice van Bohemen called for an independent review into his care at Te Whetu.

A Ministry of Health spokesperson said it would look into the matter and decided whether further action would be taken.

The Coroner's file on Michael Mulholland's death also remains open but a decision on whether to hold an inquest has not yet been made.

By Edward Gay

rnz.co.nz

Gabriel Yad-Elohim. Source: rnz.co.nz