The Christchurch Civic Crèche Case

News Reports

2001 Jan-June

The Press
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 unsafe.

"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 Peter Ellis."

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 said.

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 people".

"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 said.