March 14, 2001
Police action 'vindicated'
by Staff Reporters
Sir Thomas Eichelbaum's report on the Ellis case has
left creche parents, police, and other groups feeling vindicated.
Acting Police Commissioner Paul Fitzharris yesterday welcomed Sir Thomas's
findings, which rejected Ellis's contention that his convictions on charges
that he abused children at the Christchurch Civic Childcare Centre were
"It's nice to have the actions of our officers and staff of our partner
agency (Child, Youth and Family) vindicated by independent experts and a
Ministerial Inquiry," Mr Fitzharris said. "We have always believed
that police staff acted in a professional manner throughout this case.
"This case has been subjected to intense scrutiny by the justice process
and the public. In the words of Justice Eichelbaum, Mr Ellis's case has had
the most thorough examination possible. It should now be laid to rest."
Child, Youth and Family chief social worker Shannon Pakura said the report
showed the department's evidential interviewers had done their job to a high
standard. "Child, Youth and Family interviewers, then and now, are always
very aware of the need to gather evidence carefully so that the process is
not unfair to an alleged offender."
Commissioner for Children Roger McClay said it was his "absolute
hope" that the children and families involved in the case would now be
allowed to get on with their lives. "For too long New Zealand has
witnessed a remarkably effective media campaign which has poured doubt on the
word of children abused and molested at the Christchurch Civic Creche by
It was time to stop contradicting the verdict of the High Court, two Court of
Appeal hearings, and now a Ministerial Inquiry.
"It is time to reassure our children that we believe them and that as a
society we aim to protect them from pedophiles and molesters," Mr McClay
However, Ellis said he knew it was convenient for the crèche case to be
closed but he would not be walking away to make it "easier for other
"The Civic is a part of a worldwide phenomenon which New Zealand has not addressed by a having a
wide-ranging inquiry as Britain,
Canada, America, and Australia have done," he