The Christchurch Civic Creche Case

News Reports Index

1993 Jan-May

Christchurch Star
June 23 1993

'Perverted user of children'

Peter Ellis is a "mean man, a perverted user of children," Crown counsel Brent Stanaway told the High Court at Christchurch yesterday.

Mr Stanaway was making submissions for the Crown in the sentencing of Ellis, aged 35, on 16 counts of child abuse.

Mr Justice Williamson sentenced Ellis to jail for 10 years on the charges.

'Mean man'

Ellis showed a public side to his personality as a caring childcare worker, but his private side showed a mean and perverted man, Mr Stanaway said.

The judge said the jury, which heard six weeks of evidence on the 28 charges Ellis faced, had been in a unique position to view the evidence, "unlike those who had publicly feasted off the case."

The jury's verdict of guilty were the result of careful consideration of the evidence, he said.

"I believe them to be correct."


The judge said there were four aggravating features to Ellis's offending: the victims were small children, the offending took place over a long period, between December 1986 and May 1991, Ellis was in a position of special trust, and the crimes were prevalent.

In itigation, there was no evidence of overt violence, Ellis had no previous record of sexual offending, imprisonment would be difficult for him and many of his fellow crèche workers and parents were attracted to his personality, he said.

"In view of the evidence there are grave suspicions you committed other acts of child abuse," Mr Justice Williamson said.

"I disregard these suspicions in sentencing you," he told Ellis.


Ellis counsel, Robert Harrison, said the offending was at the lower end of the scale for the severity of the charges, that Ellis was a good childcare worker and creative in his job.

Mr Harrison said earlier he intended to appeal Ellis's conviction.