The Christchurch Civic Creche Case

News Reports Index

1993 Jan-May

The Press
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 described.

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 charges.

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 complainants.

Evidence from the video-taped interviews is suppressed.