The Christchurch Civic Crèche Case

News Reports

Last       1996       Next

Last updated March 19 2005

1996-1127 - Dominion - A legal system on trial
How much less satisfactory our system is can be seen from recent cases. Convicted of 16 counts of molesting children, former Christchurch Civic Centre crèche worker Peter Ellis is going to the Privy Council to argue that the jury did not see key evidence

1996-0930 - The Press - Skeptics, candidate back calls for crèche inquiry
by Vivienne Oakley - A call for a full parliamentary inquiry into the handling of the Christchurch Civic crèche investigation has been backed by Alliance candidate Rod Donald and the New Zealand Skeptics. Mr Donald, who is contesting the Banks Peninsula electorate this election, had a daughter at the crèche until just before it was closed.

1996-0930 - Dominion - Skeptics give to Ellis defence fund
The New Zealand Skeptics have given $2500 to the defence trust set up on behalf of convicted crèche worker Peter Ellis. The decision to award the money was made by unanimous vote at the annual meeting of the Skeptics in Hamilton. "The conviction and continued incarceration of Peter Ellis is very disturbing," treasurer Bernard Howard said. "The Ellis saga bears all the hallmarks of childcare sex-abuse witch-hunts witnessed in the United States in the late 1980s.

1996-0929 - Sunday Star Times - Pledge on crèche inquiry
by Yvonne Martin - Alliance Banks Peninsula candidate Rod Donald will push for an investigation into the Christchurch civic crèche sex abuse case if he is elected to Parliament. Mr Donald says he is in a better position than most to call for an inquiry because his daughter attended the crèche until just before it was closed. He wants an investigation to examine the way children were interviewed by psychiatrists which led to child abuse and sex charges being laid against five crèche workers.

1996-0927 - The Press - Court slashes award to crèche staff
by Sinead Ohanlon - Former Christchurch Civic Childcare Centre workers were struck a blow yesterday by a Court of Appeal decision that drastically reduced the $1 million damages awarded them in the Employment Court. The total damages were reduced to $172,978 after the Christchurch City Council appealed against the decision made by the Employment Court last year.

1996-0903 - NZ Herald - Hysteria recalls Salem trials     
by Neil Sands - A new book examines the satanic abuse phenomenon. Controversy has raged over "recovered memory" in cases of sexual abuse. Neil Sands finds that a book published yesterday in Australia will fuel further debate.  In his book Talk of the Devil, Richard Guilliatt, a Sydney Morning Herald journalist, outlines how dozens, perhaps hundreds, of parents and childcare workers have been accused of satanic abuse of children.

1996-0903 - NZ Herald - Counsellors abuse training full of nonsense     
Greg Newbold and Gordon Waugh -

·       The country's only Government-funded centres for training sexual abuse counsellors uses material that may be unscientific;

·       Study texts talk of satanic practices and promote belief in "repressed memory" which can be "recovered" under therapy.;

·       North American authorities warn against recovered memory therapy;

·       The course regards some very common behaviour as “indicators” of sexual abuse. It encourages allegations to be accepted uncritically.;

·       The course has been approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority;

·       The public has a right to expect that anyone working in the area of sexual abuse will have received training that is scientifically sound.

1996-0826 - Evening Post - Crèche claim decision reserved
Public perceptions of sexual abuse were created when Christchurch City Council allowed the civic crèche to be closed and employees initially made redundant, counsel for the employees told the Court of Appeal on Friday.

1996-0823 - Dominion - Crèche award based on note, court told
Chief Employment Court judge Tom Goddard had decided Christchurch Civic Crèche staff were unjustifiably dismissed because their employer did not give them the backing they were entitled to, lawyer Hans van Schreven said yesterday. He was arguing in the Court of Appeal against a Christchurch City Council claim that the Employment Court award of $863,763 to the 13 staff was too high.

1996-0822 - Evening Post - Council appeals crèche decision
Christchurch City Council did not make the decision to close the civic crèche after allegations of child abuse, the Court of Appeal heard yesterday. The council was appealing a series of decisions by the Employment Court that Gaye Davidson and others were unjustifiably dismissed from the crèche

1996-0818 - Sunday Star Times - Council appeals against $1m payout
A city council's appeal against a $1 million compensation payout awarded to workers sacked from a civic crèche starts on Wednesday. The Appeal Court hearing is expected to last two days

1996-0811 - Sunday Star Times - Madness in Ellis case
Letter to the Editor by G Waugh - Unlike S. Lelievre I applaud your editorial stance on the Peter Ellis case. The "madness" he asks about permeates our society. A reasoned view of the Ellis case suggests that had the jury been exposed to the full range of evidence, progression of the children's stories from ordinary events to impossible, excruciating torture, would have been obvious

1996-0804 - Sunday Star Times - Mockery of God
Letter to the Editor by Scott LeLievre - you compare the trial of Peter Ellis with the witch trials of the 17th century and note that the detective inspector in charge of the case appeared on television declaring society was reaping the fruits of mocking God and the likes of John Banks. This is a standard liberal tactic: Label your opponent as a religious extremist and hope to undermine their credibility

1996-0730 - Usenet - Peter Ellis - Christchurch Civic Crèche
by David McLoughlin, Eade talks of “secret evidence”

1996-0727 - The Press - Trust backs bid to reopen Ellis case
A Christchurch trust has been formed to collect funds to fight for the reopening of the case of convicted childcare worker Peter Ellis. The trust is backed by seven trustees, including Christchurch solicitor Ben Frampton and University of Canterbury academics Denis Dutton, David Novitz, Chris Connolly, and Barry Kirkwood. In the last few weeks new life has been injected into efforts to have the case reviewed. Dunedin Queen's Counsel Judith Ablett-Kerr yesterday confirmed her involvement, and an article on the case was published in ``North and South'' magazine

1996-0722 - The Press - reviews Ellis case
A Dunedin Queen's Counsel is reviewing the Christchurch Civic Childcare Centre case for ways the case against Peter Ellis can be reopened. Ellis, a former worker at the crèche, is three years into a 10-year jail sentence imposed for sexually abusing children in his care at the crèche

1996-0721 - Sunday Star Times - Haden praised for courage
Letter to the Editor by C S Harison - Congratulations on voicing so clearly what I am sure most normal citizens feel about both subjects raised -- the supposed recent heresy of Justice Morris, and the disgraceful Peter Ellis affair.

1996-0721 - Sunday Star Times - A convict at all costs mentality
Worryingly, this is not the only case in recent times to throw into question the fairness of our justice system. The conviction of Peter Ellis in the Christchurch Civic Crèche case is another. There was a hysteria surrounding this prosecution akin to the witch trials of 17th century Salem. We had the detective inspector in charge of the case appearing on television and declaring the Civic Sodom was evidence society was reaping the fruits of mocking the likes of John Banks and God. The police, the judge, the prosecution all got caught up in a madness that has still to be undone. Justice is not served when the hunt for a guilty verdict overwhelms the commonsense and sense of fairness we expect from our police and prosecutors.

1996-0721 - Sunday News - Stand up and be counted
This is an open challenge to our politicians and lawyers. Read David McLoughlin's article "Second Thoughts on the Christchurch Civic Crèche Case" in the latest North And South and then do the right thing. Many of you have privately expressed concern at the way our judicial system handles sexual abuse cases. Many have privately indicated considerable unease about the guilty verdict in the Peter Ellis case. None of you had the courage to stand up and be counted. It's time you did.

1996-0715 - The Press - Writer says crèche worker should be freed
by Martin Van Beynen - An Auckland journalist who has spent 18 months investigating the Christchurch Civic Childcare Centre case says convicted crèche worker Peter Ellis should be released and an independent inquiry started. David McLoughlin, a writer for ``North and South'' magazine, said yesterday he had serious qualms about Ellis's guilt, and was convinced about the innocence of the four women crèche workers charged with sexual offending against crèche children.

1996-0715 - North And South - Second Thoughts on the Crèche Case
August 1996, Cover Story, Pages 54 – 69
Second Thoughts on the Christchurch Civic Crèche Case :
Has Justice failed Peter Ellis?  by David McLoughlin

1996-0714 - Sunday Star Times - Women know they must say no, no matter what
by Frank Haden -
An exhaustive new investigation into the mistakes that led to Peter Ellis being imprisoned for crimes he could not have committed, in the infamous crèche sex abuse trial, is due to hit the streets in Christchurch, accompanied by expensive publicity, within days. It is expected to lead to the setting up of a Peter Ellis Trust, and a Privy Council appeal against the Appeal Court's inexplicable refusal to overturn the trial jury's manifestly wrong verdict. The continued incarceration of Ellis ranks with the greatest miscarriages of justice ever perpetrated.

1996-0627 - The Press - Book of sex offenders in Christchurch soon
It has many Christchurch entries, including one for Peter Ellis, the childcare worker convicted of sexually abusing children in his care at the Christchurch Civic Childcare Centre. “This case continues to provoke considerable debate in New Zealand,'' the entry says. “Ellis maintains his innocence and there are many in the community who agree,'' it says.

1996-0627 - Evening Post - Sex offenders book out
Included are high profile convictions, such as Christchurch Civic Crèche worker Peter Ellis

1996-0612 - Waikato Times - Perils of prejudice
Letter to the Editor by Russell McLachlan - When a paradigm of prejudice is established God help those who suffer its consequences. .......What hope was there for Peter Ellis, a pre-school carer and a homosexual, when he entered the courtroom in Christchurch? Did he believe he would get a fair trial? Maybe he did and maybe he was naive enough to believe a jury of New Zealanders would leave their prejudices at the courthouse door and collect them on leaving.

1996-0415 - Dominion - Convicted molester criticises lawyers
Convicted child molester Peter Ellis has had complaints that lawyers made him "lose the plot" in his trial published in a New Zealand Law Society newsletter.

1996-0411 - The Bar Tender - Blonde Horses and Horse Hair Wigs     
by Peter Ellis -
1992 and 1993 were to be funny years, not funny ha ha, just funny peculiar. I was to see masses of horse hair without being anywhere near a race track, and enough blank cloth to cover a Muslim community from head to toe, with yards to spare for the odd funeral or two………… It is now 1996 and I no longer concern myself with blonde horses and horse hair wigs, one tends not to in jail. I am now trying to understand law and its finer points, perhaps something I should have been doing during 1993. However quite frankly I don't think it was my job then and I don’t think it should be my job now. Isn't that what we have lawyers for and didn't they study law to become lawyers to see justice is done... Didn’t they???

1996-0222 - Evening Post - Judge praised for fairness, humanity
Neil William Williamson, High Court Justice: b Christchurch, Dec 9, 1938; d Christchurch, Feb 14, 1996..... He was appointed a High Court judge in 1985 and presided over a number of high-profile court cases including the Christchurch civic crèche indecencies trial of Peter Ellis