The Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry has today released the list of witnesses and the expected order in which they will appear for the first phase of the Redress hearing investigating the state response to civil redress and civil litigation claims.  This may, however, be subject to change.

Phase one of the Redress hearing begins at 10:00am on 23 March at the Environment Court, Wellington and will run for two weeks. The Inquiry will hear evidence from survivors of abuse in care, as well as their legal representatives and other organisations, about civil claims made against the State, and civil litigation in the courts and before the Human Rights Tribunal.

The second phase of the Redress hearing will be held in the Tribunal Hearing Centre in Wellington from 12-22 May 2020. Witnesses for the Crown will give evidence during this phase.  

If you would like to report on a Royal Commission public hearing, you must adhere to our Media Guidelines [DOCX, 607 KB] which include applying to attend/report within five business days.

Witness summaries and hearing schedule

23 March 2020

11.30am (approx.):

Keith Wiffin

Keith Wiffin will give evidence of his experience in making a claim against the Ministry of Social Development in relation to abuse he suffered while at Epuni Boys’ Home and in family homes. He will discuss how the process of making a claim and the response from MSD affected him and make recommendations as to how claims processes could be improved.

2.15pm (approx.):

James Packer

James Packer is Ngāti Maniapoto. James is Deaf and has Aspergers syndrome.  On his behalf, his mother, Cheryl Munro, will give evidence of the many attempts by him, and his family, to get the Ministry of Education to engage with his claims of abuse in a special Deaf school.  He will also give evidence of his claim against the Crown Health Financing Agency for abuse he suffered while admitted as a patient in a psychiatric hospital.

24 March 2020

10.00am:

Kerry Johnson (anonymised name)

Kerry Johnson was assessed at a young age as having an intellectual disability. He will give evidence about the historic claims process as it relates to his time at a faith-based boarding school, at a special residential school, in social welfare care and as a patient at various psychiatric hospitals. Kerry will talk about the challenges with legal aid funding and dealing with multiple claims against the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, and other care providers.

2.15pm (approx.):

Patrick Stevens (anonymised name)

Patrick Stevens will give evidence about going through the historic claims process with the Ministry of Social Development and the Ministry of Health. Patrick’s claim against the Ministry of Social Development related to social work practice failures while he was in child welfare and social welfare care. His claims against the Ministry of Health related to abuse suffered while admitted to the Manawaroa Unit at Palmerston North Hospital and while informally admitted to the Child and Adolescent Unit at Lake Alice Psychiatric Hospital. Patrick will explain the different approaches to his claims of abuse and the different settlement outcomes. He will also give evidence about the impact of his poor health on accelerating the claims process.

25 March

10.00am:

Chassy Duncan

Chassy Duncan is Ngāti Kahungunu. He will give evidence about the ongoing process of resolving claims of abuse against the Ministry of Social Development in relation to his time in Child Youth and Family care and the Ministry of Education in respect of his time at a residential special school.  He will describe the challenges of dealing with two different claims processes and the difficulty with raising further information in the process.  Chassy will also explain his experience of attending meetings with claims assessors, the sharing of information between organisations and the disclosure of his personal information to the Police and other organisations.

2.15pm (approx.):

Gay Rowe for Paul Beale

Gay Rowe will give evidence as the sister of, and guardian for, Paul Beale.  Paul was born with an intellectual disability and was placed into Kimberley Hospital and, later, Parklands.  The latter was a residence funded by the Ministry of Health.  Gay will describe the abuse suffered by Paul at both facilities and the claims process with the Ministry of Health in relation to Parklands.

26 March

10.00am:

Tanya and Georgina Sammons

Tanya and Georgina Sammons will give evidence of their experiences of the Ministry of Social Development’s historic claims process in their attempts to address the abuse they suffered while in foster care. They will give evidence of the different approaches taken to each of their claims, and to their claim on behalf of their sister, who is now deceased.

2.15pm (approx.):

Joan Bellingham

Joan will give evidence on her experience as a trainee nurse at Burwood Hospital, and then as a patient at Princess Margaret Hospital periodically from 1970 until 1982. Joan will discuss the difficulties she experienced in seeking redress through the courts, the Crown Health Financing Agency claims process and accessing rehabilitation through ACC.

27 March

10.00am:

Trish Grant

Trish Grant is the Director of Advocacy at IHC.  IHC is a non-governmental organisation that advocates for the rights, inclusion and welfare of all people with intellectual disabilities in New Zealand and supports them to lead to satisfying lives in the community. Ms Grant’s evidence outlines a proceeding taken by the IHC in the Human Rights Review Tribunal.  The case alleges that the government unlawfully discriminated against 84,000-106,000 children in state schools who have disabilities and need accommodations to learn.  The merits of IHC’s case (i.e. whether or not the government has unlawfully discriminated against children with disabilities) are yet to be heard.  In her evidence, Ms Grant will give IHC’s view of this situation and its effects on children with disabilities.  She will also describe the challenges people with disabilities face when making claims for abuse against the State, using an anonymised case study where IHC helped a person resolve their claim.

2.15pm (approx.):

Stand Children’s Services Tū Māia Whānau

Dr Fiona Inkpen will give evidence on behalf of Stand Children’s Services Tū Māia Whānau (Stand Tū Māia), describing the historic abuse claims received by Stand Tū Māia in relation to Health Camps, and the trauma-competent, bi-cultural approach that Stand Tū Māia has developed for responding to these claims. She will draw on those experiences to make recommendations for how these types of claims should be addressed by all agencies going forward.

30 March – 3 April

Cooper Legal

Sonja Cooper and Amanda Hill will expand on the evidence relating to redress that they provided to the Inquiry at the Contextual Hearing in October/November 2019.  Their evidence will draw on the experience of the thousands of claimants they have represented over many years.  Topics covered will include legal and other barriers to successfully seeking redress in the court system; the redress processes of the Crown agencies (Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health, and their predecessors); barriers to settlement experienced by their clients and Cooper Legal under these processes; issues relating to funding of claims for historic abuse in care and levels of compensation claimants receive; and the role of human rights instruments in these processes. Their evidence also suggests proposed solutions for the Inquiry to consider.

About the Redress hearing

The Redress hearing, held in two phases, is investigating the State response to civil redress and civil litigation claims.  Phase one of the Redress hearing begins at 10:00am on 23 March at the Environment Court, Wellington and will run for two weeks. The Inquiry will hear evidence from survivors of abuse in care, as well as their legal representatives and other organisations, about civil claims made against the State, and civil litigation in the courts and before the Human Rights Tribunal.

The second phase of the Redress hearing will be held in the Tribunal Hearing Centre in Wellington from 12-22 May 2020.  Witnesses for the Crown will give evidence during this phase.  

The hearing is open to the public and will be livestreamed here.  NZ Sign language interpreters and Te Reo translators will be present, and the livestream will be captioned. 

The hearing is just one part of a full investigation by the Inquiry into redress. The Inquiry will also investigate in detail the way faith-based institutions have treated survivors’ claims.  There will be more hearings on this issue during the Inquiry.

Media enquiries: Hannah Grant, Hannah.grant@abuseincare.org.nz; 027 298 2094

Back to the news

Last modified: