January 22, 1993
Questioning of child a worry
A witness in the
Christchurch Civic Childcare Centre child sexual abuse hearing said she was
concerned at the extent to which one of the complainants had been interviewed
by his parents.
An assistant psychologist with the Department of Social Welfare's specialist
services unit, Ms Susan Kaye Sidey, said concern had also been expressed by
others at the lack of effect displayed by the complainant for the events he had
She felt, however, that this was consistent with a child who had been
repeatedly questioned. It was well documented that the strongest effect would
present itself in the initial interview.
She said she recalled that the complainant had been sliding down his chair
and under the table while she interviewed him, which indicated that he may
have been uncomfortable with the events he was describing.
Ms Sidey said she had been reassured by the parents of the complainant that
the detail of what was being said had come from him.
She was giving evidence under cross-examination at a preliminary hearing in
the District Court to decide if five former childcare centre staff accused of
child sexual abuse will be sent for trial.
Peter Hugh McGregor Ellis, aged 34, faces 45 indecency charges. Gaye Jocelyn
Davidson, aged 39, Janice Virginia Buckingham, aged 45, and Marie Keys, aged
44, each face four charges. Deborah Janet Gillespie, aged 30, faces three
Ms Sidey, who was the first prosecution witness to give evidence at the
hearing, which began before Judge Anderson on November 2, was recalled to the
witness stand after the screening of further video-taped evidence by child
Evidence from the video-taped interviews is suppressed.