February 5 1993.
Creche absence 'unlikely'
Civic Childcare Centre could not have operated if the women workers facing
indecency charges had attended an alleged incident away from the creche, a
former creche worker told the Christchurch District Court yesterday.
Ms Paula Scott said the staff-children ratios at the creche meant it could
not have carried on if the defendants had attended an alleged circle incident
where children were kicked, burnt, and indecently assaulted at a Hereford Street
The allegation made against the women defendants. Peter Ellis, and also
herself and other creche workers was ridiculous and a "little
weird", she said.
Ms Scott and another former creche worker, Ms Stephanie Hauiti, gave evidence
yesterday during a preliminary hearing to decide whether five former creche
workers accused of sexually abusing some children in their care will be sent
Ellis, aged 34, faces 45 indecency charges. Gaye Jocelyn Davidson, aged 39,
Janice Virginia Buckingham, aged 44, and Marie Keys, aged 43, each face four
charges. Deborah Janet Gillespie faces three charges.
Both witnesses denied any participation in the circle incident. They said
they had been subpoenaed by the police to appear as prosecution witnesses.
Ms Hauiti and Ms Scott said staff at the creche would always know about walks
away from the creche and which children had been taken because of the
preparation involved. Only two or three people would have been left at the
creche if the defendants had attended the circle incident, Ms Hauiti said.
Both strongly doubted that Ellis and Gillespie could have been naked in the
toilet area at one end of the creche while two children watched because of
the openness of the area and the number of people going through.
Neither witness had seen any signs of distress when children had returned
Ms Hauiti said children always seemed happy and chatty as they returned.
Children would have been too traumatised to cover up signs of having
experienced the abuse alleged.
Ms Scott said she had, in a desperate effort to help the police, told them
about an incident when she had observed Ellis outside the children's toilet
adjusting his fly. She had first thought Ellis had used the children’s toilet
but then she had seen a child in the cubicle who seemed quite happy and
realised he was probably toileting the child.
To a question from Mr Robert Harrison, counsel for Ellis, Ms Hauiti said
Ellis had told them about his sexual activities but they had regarded the
stories as exaggerated and designed to shock.
Cross-examined by Mr Brent Stanaway, for the Crown. Ms Hauiti agreed some
children did not like Ellis and would show their attitude in subtle ways. She
had put it down to his manner which she regarded as more authoritarian than
the women workers.
In cross-examination by Mr Chris Lange, Ms Scott agreed she had last year
told police she had seen Ellis "quickly do up his fly" and in
another version that Ellis "had caught her eye, quickly looked away and
did up his fly". Ellis had been facing the child who was standing, she
The two witnesses concluded evidence called by Mr Gerald Nation for the women
defendants. Judge Anderson adjourned the hearing until Tuesday when he will
hear final submissions from counsel.