The Christchurch Civic Crèche Case

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This page last updated March 19 2005

2003-0928 - Sunday Star Times - Justice for Ellis? What a laugh
Geoff Levick - Your soapbox writer Jeffrey Masson (September 21) has missed the point. Our justice system has clearly failed in the Peter Ellis case. There are a lot of questions unanswered.

2003-0928 - Sunday Star Times - Ellis doubt
Allan Lemm - It is blatantly obvious Ellis was convicted on evidence not beyond reasonable doubt. The case is just the tip of the new sexual abuse industry.

2003-0928 - Sunday Star Times - It's a fraud
Derek Browne - In the Peter Ellis case, the interviews with young children yielded some usable results and some incredible results. The incredible results show that the procedure used was unreliable. However the usable results were presented in evidence and the incredible results were suppressed. That is analogous to scientific fraud.

2003-0928 - Sunday Star Times - Case an indictment
Dr Michael Cresswell - In his soapbox article professor Jeffrey Masson chose to attack Lynley Hood, rather than discuss the innocence or guilt of Peter Ellis. He needs to realise the innocence of Ellis is not something Hood invented.

2003-0927 - NZ Herald - Male teachers staying out of shadows
by Michele Hewitson - The "Peter Ellis Syndrome" is in large part what is keeping men out of teaching - or causing them to leave. Being seen as a potential paedophile is hardly attractive. .....The danger is the shadow of Ellis. It has made teaching, as one former trainee said this week, "cold, calculated and way too PC".

2003-0927 - Listener Oct 4 - Child abuse and the experts
by John Anderson - The ongoing disquiet over the Peter Ellis affair is not just about whether a miscarriage of justice has occurred in this one case, but as to whether the law as it stands is capable of providing justice. The minister would do well to institute an inquiry into just what opinion evidence should be permitted in child-sex-abuse cases. His assumption that the Ellis conviction is correct seems predicated on the belief that the Court of Appeal cannot get it wrong, and ignores the likelihood that the evidence the court relied on was, itself, unreliable.

2003-0926 - NBR - Justice could be the ultimate victim
by Nick Smith - Questions about the quality of New Zealand's justice system have never been more pertinent. While the government bulldozes its Supreme Court Bill through Parliament, there is growing public disquiet about apparent miscarriages of justice.  Peter Ellis, David Bain, Scott Watson and the fisherman Rex Haig convicted of the 1995 slaying of a crewman make up a quartet of claims of wrongful conviction that is eroding public confidence in a judiciary that until recently scored highly.

2003-0926 - NZ Herald - Ellis commission needed
by Alan Wilkinson - Unfortunately, Peter Ellis needs aggressive defence against the emotional blackmail exercised by some "child abuse" fanatics. It should be unnecessary, but is not to re-emphasise that both genuine victims of abuse and victims of false accusations will benefit from improving reliability and public confidence in the way these cases are handled and by distinguishing the competent and rational from incompetent and/or emotionally entangled professionals.

2003-0926 - NZ Herald - Male staff essential in our schools
Editorial - The Ellis case, as [Alison Jones] says, "was widely seen as an example of social hysteria rather than sexual abuse". The damage the case has done the recruitment of male teachers could be repaired by the enquiry that Ellis' defenders seek. Men might not run the risk of returning to child services until the mode of investigation of suspected abuse is objectively reviewed.

2003-0925 - Maxim Institute - The Peter Ellis syndrome
Men are not entering early childhood or primary teaching as they used to. One researcher has called this the Peter Ellis syndrome. It's hardly surprising in light of this case that fewer men are applying for these positions, or that those working in these areas are frustrated and fearful. Political correctness (PC) does that to people.

2003-0925 - NZ Herald - Deliver us from those who know what's best for us
by Garth George - Next we are confronted (again) with the shortage of men in primary school teaching resulting from what has become known as the "Peter Ellis Syndrome" - the one that tells the paranoid that if a male teacher as much as pats a child on the head he is likely to be a child molester

2003-0924 - Marlborough Express - Political correctness gone mad
Editorial -
Ever since cases like the allegations of child abuse against Christchurch creche worker Peter Ellis, male teachers have had a cloud of suspicion hanging over them. It shows the politically correct world has overreacted

2003-0923 - NZ Herald - 'Ellis syndrome' puts men off teaching
by Alan Perrott - Fear of falling victim to the "Peter Ellis syndrome" is stopping men from becoming primary school teachers, according to a study. Researcher Ian Livingstone sayss men are reluctant teachers because they fear being seen as potential child abusers, and the industry is also considered low paid and of low social status.

2003-0923 - Dominion Post - Ellis book distorts case, say academics
by Linley Boniface - Two distinguished academics have launched an attack in The New Zealand Law Journal on author Lynley Hood's book about the Peter Ellis child abuse case. In the hard-hitting 3000-word article, Emma Davies and Jeffrey Masson said Ms Hood had misrepresented some of the research into child sex abuse and suggested her analysis of the issues involved could not be trusted.

2003-0923 - Dominion Post - Proper role of MPs
by Tighe Instone - Opposition leader Bill English is right to distance himself from the actions of the two National MPs who signed a petition calling for a royal commission of inquiry into the 1993 conviction of Christchurch Civic Creche worker Peter Ellis (Sept 19).

2003-0922 - Otago Daily Times - Thomas backs Ellis inquiry
NZPA - Arthur Allan Thomas is backing a call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Peter Ellis affair. Mr Thomas, his wife Jennifer, and other family members have signed a second petition demanding a wider inquiry into the handling of the Christchurch Civic Creche child-abuse case

2003-0922 - NZ Herald - Thomas supports calls for inquiry into Ellis affair
NZPA - Arthur Allan Thomas is backing a call for a royal commission of inquiry into the Peter Ellis affair..... Mr Thomas, who was at the centre of New Zealand's most talked-about judicial travesty, said the conviction of Ellis was as close to his own miscarriage of justice as any case he had seen. He urged Justice Minister Phil Goff to "look, seek and find out".

2003-0922 - The Press - Thomas backs inquiry
by Anna Claridge - Arthur Allan Thomas, the man at the centre of New Zealand's most talked-about judicial travesty, is backing a call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Peter Ellis case. ...... The second petition - which already has more than 5000 signatures - is to be launched at Canterbury University on October 6. It would then be presented to Parliament, and eventually get added to the original petition.

2003-0921 - Sunday Star Times - There should be an inquiry into the Christchurch creche case
by Don Brash - There is now a wide spread consensus that in the creche case the justice system failed at many levels and, so far at least, has been unable to self-correct…..Unease about the safety of Peter Ellis’s convictions is based on many well-founded concerns: that the evidence was contaminated; that the allegations were improbable or unbelievable; that the jury did not see the full picture; and that two appeal courts and a ministerial inquiry failed to properly review the whole case.

2003-0921 - Sunday Star Times - There should not be an inquiry into the Christchurch creche case
by Jeffrey Masson - this case has been viewed and reviewed many times by completely independent experts, none of whom would have any reason to want to find Ellis guilty and provided with thousands of pages of documents and testimony unseen by the general public. ….It would be a perversion of justice to overrule their guilty verdict on the basis of a biased, ignorant and woefully inadequate book.

2003-0920 - Listener Sept 27 - Something to prove
by Bruce Ansley - Peter Ellis, having served his jail term for sexually abusing children at the Christchurch Civic Creche, simply refuses to go away. Doubts over the justice of his conviction are so widespread and so well documented, particularly by Lynley Hood's A City Possessed, that they have become a permanent fixture in public mistrust.

2003-0920 - Listener Sept 27 - Child abuse and the experts
by Ian Hassall - How common is child sexual abuse, who does it and how can they be identified? What harm does it do and how can this best be alleviated? How common are false accusations and retractions and how can they be identified? Do children have the independent right of access to the justice system? Is children's evidence reliable and how can this be tested? How can children's access to New Zealand's justice system be improved?

2003-0920 - Listener Sept 27 - Child abuse and the experts
by Dora May Sutcliffe - Where will it all end? … In Ellis being cleared of all these ridiculous charges, I hope.

2003-0920 - Listener Sept 27 - Child abuse and the experts
by Dr John Read - There is nothing wrong with having opinions. It is incumbent on academics, however, to differentiate our opinions from scientific facts. Corballis's article reminds us that this is no easy task

2003-0920 - Dominion Post - Power to pardon in new appeal body
by Martin Kay - Some of New Zealand's most controversial criminal convictions could be reconsidered under proposals to overhaul the appeal system. The Justice Ministry has recommended the establishment of an independent board to consider possible miscarriages of justice. The board will have the power to recommend pardons or refer cases back to the Court of Appeal for a new hearing. The move could pave the way for some of New Zealand's most contentious cases, such as the conviction of Peter Ellis for child abuse at the Cristchurch Civic Creche, to be re-examined.

2003-0919 - Otago Daily Times - MPs look at petition calling for inquiry into Ellis case
NZPA - "We consider that the key issue for us to determine is whether or not the Christchurch Civic Creche case raises concerns of sufficient significance to justify a royal commission," the committee said.

2003-0919 - One News - Franks to stay on Ellis inquiry
Act MP Stephen Franks is defiant in the face of calls for him to step down from a Parliamentary inquiry into the Christchurch Civic Creche case.

2003-0919 - Newsgroups - Justice and Electoral Committee
by Denver Fletcher - Let's be perfectly candid: the adherents to the status quo are here accusing any and all who differ from their orthodoxy of being dishonest for doing so, while proclaiming their own pristine purity of character even as the very act of their speaking thus tells us plainly otherwise.

2003-0919 - Newstalk ZB - Author says positive step taken in Ellis case
The author of a book on convicted child molester Peter Ellis, says a parliamentary select committee's decision to probe the Christchurch Civic Creche case is a positive step.....Ms Hood says the move is a step in the right direction, because there is a lot of concern that the justice system has failed, and has also failed to correct itself. She believes that has implications for all New Zealanders.

2003-0919 - NZ Herald - Ellis petition brings probe
by Ruth Berry - A select committee will investigate a petition calling for a royal commission of inquiry to held into the Peter Ellis Christchurch civic creche case. Parliament's justice and electoral committee chairman, Tim Barnett, yesterday announced terms for a limited inquiry, after being presented with an 807-signature petition.

2003-0919 - The Press - MP 'cannot be disqualified'
by Tracy Watkins - Committee chairman Tim Barnett said yesterday it had no procedural grounds for disqualifying MPs, after criticism of ACT MP Stephen Franks joining other prominent New Zealanders including National MPs Don Brash and Katherine Rich in signing the petition. Mr Franks is on the 11 member committee which will decide whether to recommend a Commission of Inquiry into Mr Ellis' convictions.

2003-0919 - Dominion Post - Petition MP defends Ellis inquiry role
by Tracy Watkins - An MP who signed a petition for a Commission of Inquiry into the Peter Ellis case is refusing to step down from the parliamentary inquiry. ..... "My starting position has been disclosed. I came to Parliament to press and vote for good law. In this area I know there is widespread concern among practising criminal lawyers. The balance between properly testing evidence to avoid wrongful conviction and concern for witnesses may have swung too far in one direction."

2003-0919 - Dominion Post - English backs away from Brash's petition for Ellis
by Linley Boniface - National Party leader Bill English has written to the mother of a Christchurch Civic Creche case victim to distance himself from the actions of two of his MPs. .... "These MPs are acting in a personal capacity. In no way do they represent a National Party position," Mr English wrote. "In the view of the party, Mr Ellis is no different to any other convicted criminal."

2003-0918 - Stephen Franks MP - Public letter to Women's Refuge (pdf file)
Your letter of 2 September to Mr Goff, objecting to my participation in consideration of the petition on the Ellis case, has been copied to me ....

2003-0918 - NZPA - MPs look at Peter Ellis petition
A parliamentary committee has cautiously begun examining a petition calling for a royal commission of inquiry into Peter Ellis' conviction in the Christchurch civic creche child abuse case.

2003-0918 - One News - Another Ellis Inquiry?
A parliamentary select committee will conduct an initial inquiry into whether the way the Christchurch Civic Creche case was conducted raises enough concerns to merit a Royal Commission of Inquiry.

2003-0918 - Newstalk ZB - Committee to investigate Ellis case
A parliamentary committee is to investigate whether a Royal Commission of Inquiry is needed into the Christchurch Civic Creche case. The decision follows a petition to the Justice and Electoral Committee from pro-Peter Ellis campaigners Lynley Hood and National MP Don Brash

2003-0917 - The Independent - Govt exploits our lack of a constitution
by Brendon Harr - Labour has taken cronyism to new levels in the public sector; it wants to appoint the judges. It breaks electoral conventions, like not governing for the full term. It didn't trust the voters to sort out Duynhoven's mistake, preferring to manipulate Parliament instead. It ignores the public's plea for an independent review of the sexual abuse hysteria and Peter Ellis' conviction.

2003-0917 - NZ Parliament - Petition of Lynley Jane Hood and Dr Don Brash and 807 others
Justice and Electoral Committee - The committee has made a number of decisions with regard to this petition:

2003-0917 - Daily News - Spin-tutor Edwards is out of order in displaying politics
Editorial - ......
A month later, Edwards did something similar when he grilled Christchurch Civic Creche case author Lynley Hood, whose book about Peter Ellis is proving to be a thorn in the Labour Government's side.  Both Hide and Hood complained to TVNZ, alleging imbalance, bias and excessive aggression on what purports to be a lifestyle programme.

2003-0917 - NZ Herald - Memory a sucker for fabrication
by Denis Dutton - Which brings us to a twist in the Peter Ellis case, a stunning interview carried by Radio New Zealand. Nathan, as he was named, is a 22-year-old Christchurch resident who had been at the Civic Creche for a short time in 1985. He, too, now claims that Peter Ellis had abused him......... What is astonishing is that Radio New Zealand would give him 40 minutes to share with the nation the genesis of his problems - those dreadful experiences at age 4 at a creche that did not then have Ellis on its staff.

2003-0916 - Dominion Post - Distorted testimony
by H W Mulgan - The only good I see coming from Clark's interview with "Nathan" is that it provides a powerful demonstration of the fact that apparently sincere young adults can and do provide distorted testimony about childhood events.

2003-0916 - Daily News - Goff wins Bent Can Opener Award from Skeptics
NZPA - Justice Minister Phil Goff has won the first-ever Bent Can Opener Award from the New Zealand Skeptics, for refusing to revisit the Christchurch Civic Creche case. For 10 years, the skeptics have made an annual Bent Spoon Award, in remembrance of spoon bender Uri Geller. They felt that a change in implement was necessary for an award that will be officially conferred at this weekend's annual Skeptics Conference in Wellington. ....... "We recognise that it is a can of worms for the minister, but it is one that needs to be opened if we are to continue to have confidence in our justice system."

2003-0916 - Press - Skeptics bestow award on Goff
Justice Minister Phil Goff may have to clear some space on his mantelpiece after winning the inaugural Bent Can Opener Award.  Mr Goff was named as the first recipient of the award yesterday by the New Zealand Skeptics group, which said he won it for refusing to "open the can of worms that is the Christchurch Civic Creche Case".

2003-0914 - Trauma Conference, Melbourne - John Read's "bizarre case"
by John Read - In New Zealand currently we have a bizarre case where, I would call in hysteria in the other way in fact, hysteria around a particular case that has been to trial, appeal court, two reviews, and still we have people all over New Zealand jumping up and down signing petitions asking for a third review.

2003-0913 - NZ Herald - Edwards under fire
Dunedin author Lynley Hood, who is campaigning for a royal commission into the Christchurch Civic Creche case, has complained to TVNZ that Brian Edwards "ambushed" her in a hostile interview

2003-0912 - Nelson Mail - Hood 'ambushed'
NZPA - In a formal complaint to TVNZ chief executive Ian Fraser, Hood claims Edwards' political affiliations had prejudiced his view of the sex abuse case against former creche worker Peter Ellis

2003-0912 - The Press - Edwards' stance hostile - Hood
NZPA - Broadcaster Brian Edwards has been accused of ambushing Christchurch Civic Creche case campaigner Lynley Hood in a hostile television interview. A formal complaint by Ms Hood to TVNZ also alleges political links coloured Dr Edwards' views on the controversial sex abuse case. She claims the veteran interviewer adopted a "hectoring, sneering tone" during the chat show, Edwards at Large

2003-0911 - Parliament - Don Brash Questions to Phil Goff
Don Brash (National) questions Phil Goff (Labour)(Minister of Justice) about subjects relating to the Brian Edwards interview with Lynley Hood

2003-0911 - NZPA - Brian Edwards under attack again for political links
Dunedin author Lynley Hood, who is campaigning for a royal commission into the Christchurch Civic Creche case, has complained to TVNZ about Brian Edwards "ambushing" her in a hostile interview. In a formal complaint to TVNZ chief executive Ian Fraser, Hood claims Edwards' political affiliations had prejudiced his view of the sex abuse case against former creche worker Peter Ellis. She says Edwards breached broadcasting standards on balance, impartiality and fairness

2003-0907 - Sunday Star Times - Goff should go
by Katherine Murry - Phil Goff has failed to demonstrate adequate levels of either competence or understanding of the responsibilities of his post in seeing justice served in the Peter Ellis case

2003-0906 - Listener Sept 13 - Memory and the Law
by Michael C Corballis - [A City Possessed] is a compelling document, and stands in marked contrast to the report produced by Sir Thomas Eichelbaum, the judge who undertook the most recent appeal against Ellis's conviction. The Eichelbaum report concluded that the appeal failed "by a considerable margin". Part of the difference, of course, is that Eichelbaum was constrained by his terms of reference, whereas Hood enjoyed the freedom, and the time, to examine any aspect of the case as she saw fit.

2003-0905 - Government - Justice and Electoral Committee
The committee will also consider three petitions it currently has before it; one of these is the petition of Lynley Hood and Dr Donald Brash and 807 others. The meeting is not open to the public

2003-0904 - The Press -  An inquiry is needed into the case
by Bernard Robertson - Psychologists regularly give opinions which result in families being broken up, people going to jail, people being released from or kept in jail. This is a house of cards and the Ellis case is the card that could bring it all tumbling down....... This is why there needs to be an inquiry into the Peter Ellis case, and this is the reason why the establishment is vigorously resisting an inquiry. It is not just a matter of the guilt or innocence of Peter Ellis but of (among other things) the whole functioning of the judicial system and the role of psychologists in it.

2003-0904 - The Press -  Why adults choose not to hear what abused children have to say
by Chris Goddard and Neerosh Mudaly - Child death inquiries from around the world have repeatedly shown that we do not want to talk to child victims and do not listen when they try to reveal what is happening to them. Children and young people who have been abused and neglected are rarely heard ...

2003-0903 - The Press - Ellis petition goes before committee
by Matt Conway - Today the high-profile petition on the conviction of Peter Ellis moves on to the parliamentary stage.......Just how realistic are the hopes of Ellis supporters pushing for a full inquiry? What political forces (overt and unseen) might come into play? And, most intriguingly of all, if the committee backs an inquiry, will the Government support the call or snuff it out?

2003-0903 - Newstalk ZB - Committee decides on handling of Ellis petition
A Parliamentary committee will begin deciding today on how best to deal with the petition calling for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the case of ... Peter Ellis....... it may be several weeks before the committee finalises how it will approach the issue.

2003-0902 - The Press - Ellis Case
by Max Podstolski - The children in the Ellis case should be believed, say N. Buchanan (August 30) and other anti-Lynley Hood campaigners. Since false memories in their view have nothing to do with it, can they explain the many patently absurd details in the children's transcripts, such as being hung in cages? Ellis' mother was also mentioned -- does anyone seriously believe she was guilty of ritual abuse too?

2003-0901 - Dominion Post - To the Point
by Anthony Frith - Why should Peter Ellis’s defence team have to produce new evidence when the prosecution never had to produce any to start with?

2003-0901 - Dominion Post - Who leaked the transcripts?
by S Libeau - The rules are that the tapes can be shown, but not copied or disseminated to any third party. There has been a vague hint that a transcript went missing during the case and I have no doubt that someone leaked these transcripts. The question is, who did?

2003-0900 - NZ Law Journal - Christchurch Crèche Case: an author possessed?
Emma Davies and Jeffrey Masson - Unlike some of the petitioners, we cannot comment on the guilt or innocence of Peter Ellis, but if the research of the first three chapters of Lynley Hood's book is anything to go by, one should be cautious about the neutrality of her analysis. Weaving a story and selecting facts to fit the story is not the same as carefully documenting the history of events.