Advisers quit Owen Glenn's inquiry

STEVE KILGALLON AND SARAH HARVEY
Last updated 15:42 02/07/2013

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Sir Owen Glenn's embattled inquiry into child abuse and domestic violence has taken another blow with two advisers quitting and another considering their future.

Waikato University professor Neville Robertson handed in his resignation just before 2pm, just after Anton Blank, the executive director of Maori welfare organisation Ririki.

The two men follow eight female members of the 38-strong advisory panel who also resigned in the past two months.

A third, Gisborne councillor Manu Caddie, may yet follow, saying: ''At this stage, I haven't made a decision. I am waiting on further information on a range of things.''

Blank cited work pressures and other priorities, while Robertson had been considering his future since the news broke that Glenn had not disclosed to his own inquiry that he had given a no contest plea to a charge of physically abusing a woman in Hawaii in 2002.

This morning Glenn withdrew his nomination to become an ambassador for anti-violence campaigners White Ribbon.

White Ribbon committee chairman Peter Boshier said following the "very public scrutiny over Sir Owen Glenn's nomination, and the omission of certain facts that should have been presented to the White Ribbon Committee, I have received a letter from Sir Owen Glenn advising that he has withdrawn his nomination as a White Ribbon Ambassador".

Court documents show Glenn offered a plea of no contest when the case came before the courts in 2003. That means the charge was not contested or admitted. Glenn was put on probation and the charge was dismissed in 2004 when the probationary period ended.

Glenn has said there was no truth to the abuse allegation.

He said in a statement at the weekend: "My regret now is that I didn't take the matter to court, however after two years of dispute in the American court system and at the strong advice of my American lawyer I resolved the case in Hawaii to avoid further horrendous court costs, and to bring the matter to an end on an agreed basis which resulted in an order of dismissal.

"It saddens me that yet again it appears the New Zealand media is delving into my personal life to fill their pages while New Zealand is ranked the third-highest country in the world for rape and this issue goes virtually unreported."

Boshier said Glenn maintained his declaration on the application form was true and correct.

"In his letter he explains that the media coverage is '...nothing but a distraction from the important work both White Ribbon and the Glenn Inquiry are doing in relation to child abuse and domestic violence in New Zealand.'"

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Boshier said he did not know when Glenn first applied to become an ambassador for White Ribbon as it had already been received by the time he was appointed chairman about four months ago.

He said no decision had been made about the application.

- Waikato

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