The Christchurch Civic Creche Case

News Reports Index

1993 June-Dec

The Press
July 2 1993

No Ellis Inquiry, says Banks
by Oliver Riddell
in Wellington

A call for an inquiry into the investigation and prosecution of Peter Ellis for child, molestation at the Christchurch Civic Childcare Centre has been rejected by the Minister of Police, Mr Banks.

Replying to a letter from Ms Gaye Davidson; the former supervisor of the childcare centre and one of three women working there who were subsequently discharged by the High Court, Mr Banks said: "I cannot for the life of me understand why you and your friends continue to support this convicted child molester.

"I was not Impressed with your submission; I was more impressed with what the sentencing judge (Mr Justice Williamson) had to say than responding to pleas in mitigation from people who have little or no community support."

A copy of Ms Davidson's letter of May 24 - sent before Ellis's conviction - and of Mr Banks's reply has been secured by "The Press" after an application under the Official Information Act. Ms Davidson approached Mr Banks in her capacity as speaker for the Civic Childcare Inquiry Organisation.

"We will not let the matter lie," Ms Davidson said. "We consider it affords the Government the opportunity to take the initiative to bring about changes in this area to ensure that the true allegations of sexual abuse are handled properly, and false allegations do not get out of hand."

An official inquiry was necessary regardless of what happened at the Ellis trial, she said. An inquiry should be announced as soon as the trial was completed.

Children who had not been the victims of any sexual abuse had been treated as victims of it, she said. Ms Davidson listed 20 concerns about the way the investigation had been done and the children treated.

New Zealand had to learn from overseas experience, such as in the Orkneys, so guidelines were set for dealing with similar cases.

That way, cases of true abuse could be exposed and dealt with appropriately, so children were not damaged as a result of the way such cases were handled, Ms Davidson said.

Mr Banks replied that from his knowledge of the circumstances and court decisions, there was no need for an official inquiry