19 Jul 2013

Glenn rethinking role on abuse inquiry

10:02 pm on 19 July 2013

Sir Owen Glenn is reconsidering his position after his $2 million independent inquiry into child abuse and domestic violence became mired in controversy.

Director Ruth Herbert resigned, followed by many of the inquiry's members after a revelation that Sir Owen had been accused of physically abusing his personal assistant in Hawaii in 2002.

Sir Owen entered a plea of no contest, which meant everyone involved in the case agreed to some extent about what happened, without him having to plead guilty. The case was dismissed in 2004.

A new board has been established to run the Glenn Inquiry into abuse and a review has been held into its safety processes.

In a statement on Friday, board chair Bill Wilson said the inquiry has been deflected from its work by a torrent of nasty publicity directed at Sir Owen Glenn.

Mr Wilson said an independent report has provided evidence that the allegations were scaremongering and unfounded, and he hoped that Sir Owen would still play a very active role in ensuring that the inquiry contributes to zero-tolerance of violence.

But an adviser for the inquiry who left earlier in July said Bill Wilson is misrepresenting the report. Professor Robertson from the University of Waikato said its authors did not reach a conclusion about the allegations and only repeated what was already on public record.

Meanwhile, an adviser to the Glenn Inquiry believes it will continue - whether its founder continues at the helm or not.

Kim Workman told Radio New Zealand's Nine to Noon programme on Friday people can be assured that their information is safe and they have made a number of recommendations to boost the status of the inquiry. He did not know what Sir Owen's intentions were.

On 2 July, Sir Owen withdrew his application to become an ambassador for the White Ribbon campaign against violence.