The Christchurch Civic Creche Case

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This page last updated Aug 9 2005

2004-1210 - Daily News - Labour's ethical black hole
by Chris Trotter - Surely this is a government Labour supporters can be proud of? And, of course, they are. As poll after poll has testified, this is one of the most popular governments in New Zealand history. It is even possible that -- come the next election -- Labour will win enough votes to govern alone. So, why does that frighten me? Perhaps it's because Phil Goff cannot understand why Peter Ellis should be pardoned, and Helen Clark cannot grasp why Ahmed Zaoui should be freed

2004-1208 - The Independent - The king's 'evil counsellors'
by Chris Trotter - At Orewa, the liberal torch, scorned by ACT's "perkbusters," passed into Brash's hands. He (Brash) was the perfect choice. As the son of one of the leading exponents of liberal theology in the New Zealand Presbyterian Church, Brash inherited a powerful ethical sense. Nowhere was this better illustrated than in his campaign to win a pardon for Peter Ellis in the Civic Creche case in Christchurch. When he broached the issue with me over lunch, I was struck by the man's sincerity and by his almost innocent faith in what steadfast moral purpose could achieve

2004-1126 - NZ Parliament - Justice and Electoral Committee
The committee will next meet on 1 December, to consider the Relationships (Statutory References) Bill, the Inquiry into the 2004 Local Authority Elections, and all petitions currently before the committee

2004-1020 - Christchurch Star - Crèche case back on MPs' agenda
by Rachel Tiffen - Former Christchurch Civic Creche worker Peter Ellis' quest to clear his name is not over yet. This week, his case is back on the agenda of the Justice and Electoral Committee – after months of dormancy. A decade has passed since Ellis was convicted of 13 charges of indecent assault relating to children formerly in his care, and sentenced to 10 years in jail. And still, three years after his early release, he and supporters are battling to prove his innocence.

2004-1015 -  NBR - Radio NZ balks at BSA order to apologise to Peter Ellis
by John Drinnan - Radio New Zealand is optimistic about settling a new contract for Linda Clark to host the National Radio Nine to Noon show.  But at the same time as courting Ms Clark, Radio NZ's lawyers at law firm Izard Weston are trying to limit the latent damage from a August 25, 2003 interview - a heavily criticised broadcast in which she waded into the controversy surrounding former Christchurch Civic Creche worker Peter Ellis.

2004-0910 - NBR - Hostess away the mostest
by John Drinnan - Could National Radio Nine to Noon host Linda Clark have known there was a terrible broadcasting standards finding coming when she took another long holiday off air. Her latest two-week break coincided with the Broadcasting Standards Authority showing "deep concern about a serious breach of the rights for Peter Ellis in a "sympathetic" interview with his accusers in August last year.

2004-0908 - The Press - RNZ told to say sorry to Ellis
Radio New Zealand (RNZ) must apologise and pay costs to convicted sex offender Peter Ellis over allegations made against him on its Nine to Noon programme. The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) made the ruling after a complaint from Ellis over a programme aired by RNZ in August last year.

2004-0908 - NZ Herald - Ellis complaint against RNZ programme upheld
The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) yesterday released a decision upholding a complaint from Peter Ellis about an interview conducted on National Radio's Nine to Noon programme in August 2003

2004-0907 - NBR - BSA rules against Radio New Zealand in Ellis case
The Broadcasting Standards Authority has issued a finding that requires Radio New Zealand to broadcast an apology to Peter Ellis. The BSA said that RNZ had breached standards of fairness and balance in a Linda Clark hosted interview on Nine to Noon in which an anonymous mother and son made new, unspecified allegations concerning Mr Ellis and the Christchurch Civic Crèche in 1985 -- allegations which had not been part of the court proceedings concerning the Crèche and were presented in an unfair and unbalanced manner

2004-0907 - Stuff - BSA upholds nine to noon complaint from Peter Ellis
In a statement today the BSA said it had ordered Radio New Zealand (RNZ) to pay $5300 legal costs to the complainant, and to broadcast an apology on Nine to Noon. RNZ was also to publish a summary of the decision in the four major metropolitan daily newspapers, and pay the maximum level of costs to the crown of $5000.

2004-0907 - One News - Radio New Zealand fined
The BSA found the Nine to Noon programme breached standards of fairness and balance, in broadcasting an interview in August last year with an unidentified man who claimed to have been abused by Ellis. The allegations were not part of the controversial case which saw Ellis convicted of sexual offences against children at the creche in 1993.

2004-0907 - NZ Herald - Radio NZ told to apologise to convicted child abuser
The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) has ordered National Radio to pay legal costs and broadcast an apology to convicted child abuser Peter Ellis.  The BSA upheld a complaint from Ellis about an interview conducted on the Nine to Noon programme in August 2

2004-0907 - Newstalk ZB - RNZ, TV3 and ZB told off by BSA
Radio New Zealand has been ordered to pay $5,300 dollars in legal costs to Peter Ellis, the man convicted over the Christchurch Civic creche abuse case. Peter Ellis complained to the Broadcasting Standards Authority after Nine to Noon interviewed an anonymous mother and son who made unspecified allegations, which were not part of the court proceedings that led to his conviction

2004-0907 - Broadcasting Standards Authority - BSA upholds Nine to Noon complaint
The Broadcasting Standards Authority today released a decision upholding a complaint from Peter Ellis about an interview conducted on National Radio's Nine to Noon programme in August 2003. The BSA ordered Radio New Zealand to pay $5,300 legal costs to the complainant, to broadcast an apology on Nine to Noon, to publish a summary of the decision in the four major metropolitan daily newspapers, and to pay the maximum level of costs to the Crown of $5,000. During the broadcast an anonymous mother and son were interviewed. They made new, unspecified allegations concerning Mr Ellis and the Christchurch Civic Crèche in 1985, which had not been part of the court proceedings concerning the Crèche

Complaint by Peter Ellis against Linda Clark’s Nine to Noon programme upheld

2004-0903 - Broadcasting Standards Authority - Decision: Complaint by Peter Ellis
The Authority upholds the complaint that the broadcast by Radio New Zealand Ltd of an item on Nine to Noon on 25 August 2003 breached Principle 4 and Principle 5 of the Radio Code of Broadcasting Practice

2004-0827 - The Press - Ellis inquiry faulty
by Nancy Sutherland - the [Eichelbaum] inquiry's terms at (1) (c) specifically invited conclusions only about the children's evidential interviews, and not about the general investigation. This was inconsistent with c's logically preceding terms, (a) and (b), which equally made both the investigation and the interviews proper subjects for the inquiry. Eichelbaum discussed this flaw, but stated that on any view, any and all aspects of the police investigation were off-limits, and refocused his inquiry to the obtaining of evidence from the children, including the part played by their parents and the parents of other creche children. On a reasonable interpretation, the intent of (1) (a) and (b) was thus denied. This must be effectively rectified.

2004-0627 - kiwiblog - Guilty or not?
New April 21 2005
by David Farrar - UMR in January 2004 did a poll on whether people think Watson, Bain and Ellis were guilty of the crimes they were convicted of.- Ellis 23%.

Followup comments:  "The unabated PC witch hunt that was the Ellis case has not convinced me";  "Ellis - definitely innocent - just reading the part of the transcripts of what the children said had happened";  "I don't believe juror's go anywhere near applying the "reasonable doubt" threshold"

2004-0611 - ACT Party - Sexual abuse, Historical perspective
Heather Roy in "Heather's Diary" - Without question, the most controversial sexual abuse charge in recent years in New Zealand has been the case of the Christchurch Civic Creche. This case has been the subject of the book "A City Possessed", by Lynley Hood, who likens the case to the witch hunts of old. In 1992, allegations of sexual offending at the creche resulted in a long police investigation and several creche workers were charged. Most of the workers were women, and sexual offending by women is uncommon. Doubts were raised about the validity of the techniques used to interview the children

2004-0603 - The Press - Drinking age
Letter to the Editor by W Moffitt - Phil Goff has said that the law will not be changed, which is consistent with his head in the sand attitude to the Peter Ellis case. This is rather sad as he has always appeared to be one of the more intelligent members of the Labour Party

2004-0523 - Radio NZ - Sunday Supplement
James Allan, Faculty of Law, University of Otago - A tough-minded critic would now bring up the Peter Ellis case and contrast it with all the voiced concern for rights in the abstract.  Here is real injustice.  In my view Peter Ellis should never have been convicted and the prevailing attitude here seems to be to sweep this embarrassing episode under the carpet.  It stinks.

2004-0424 - NZ Listener - Let us now, inevitably, consider Peter Ellis
Philip Matthews reviews Capturing the Friedmans: Who in New Zealand could watch this and not think of the Peter Ellis case? No physical evidence existed for abuse of neighbourhood boys and no complaints had been made before the police went trawling for victims………Crusading journalist Debbie Nathan makes the equally inevitable comparison with the McMartin case in California, where accusations regarding abused pre-schoolers were found to be hollow. If the Ellis story ever had a prologue, it was that.

2004-0417 - NZ Herald - Warm up for midwinter film feast
by Peter Calder - The other standout documentary is Capturing the Friedmans, a nuanced rather than polemical look at a family torn apart by allegations of sexual abuse. Relying heavily on footage shot by family members it makes for chilling viewing in a country apparently content to live with the injustice visited on Peter Ellis.

2004-0415 - Otago Daily Times - Reflections on creche case welcome, but analysis flawed
by Lynley Hood - United Future MP Murray Smith's reflections on the Christchurch Civic Creche case (ODT April 8.2004), and his comments on the need for law reform in relation to children's evidence, are a welcome contribution to the debate surrounding this contentious issue. With regard to A City Possessed , Mr Smith has done what I want people to do with the book: he has read it, and thought about it, and reached his own conclusions. His critique is a fine starting point for debate. It is therefore disappointing that his arguments are so easy to demolish. The flaws in Mr Smith's analysis of my book could not be more fundamental.

2004-0408 - Otago Daily Times - Child Evidence Law Issue in Ellis Review
A thorough review of the Evidence Act involving the use of expert evidence in child abuse cases is necessary, writes lawyer Murray Smith, a United Future MP who is a member of Parliament's justice and electoral select committee presently considering a petition in the Peter Ellis case.

2004-0326 - NZ Herald - Defence and indefensibility: An MP courting trouble      
by Jim Hopkins - Contempt in Court - (A Comedy of Several Acts) - Dr Nicksmith: Thank you, your Onion. And did you also say that you admired Peter Ellis and believed his inner strength was inspired by his innocence? Justice Lostiss-Behrens: Too right. We've got to speak our minds. We've got to say what we think about these things, even if several appeals to m'learned colleagues (and the Minister of Justice) have upheld the original verdict. It doesn't matter. I reckon he's innocent and that's that.

2004-0326 - - More on the Eichelbaum Report Scandal
The coverup over how Sas came to be appointed is not good enough Goff - You, or somebody that works for you must know how Sas name dropped conveniently into the hands of Petherick and Sim.  The decision to use Sas was extraordinary, and there must be accountability for that decision, and for the actions of your own staff. The Eichelbaum report is starting to smell very rotten

2004-0319 - NZ Parliament - Justice and Electoral Committee
The committee met on 17 March to consider the ….Petition 2002/55 of Lynley Jane Hood and Don Brash and 807 others

2004-0319 - The Press - Ellis Case
Letter to the Editor by J J Small - In the New York Review of Books (March 11) Frederick Crews examines two recent books on opposite sides of the issue that is central to the Ellis case, namely, recovered memories. Crews does not completely exonerate the American Psychological Association from blame (as Harper does), saying that it bowed to pressure to recognize the validity of this alleged phenomenon, which resulted from the APA’s 1971 concession to some programmes that omitted any scientific training

2004-0319 - The Press - Ellis Case
Letter to the Editor by Chris Watson - A recurring theme is the confidence that the public must have in the justice system. The logic seems to go like this: the public must have confidence in the system; if the system makes a mistake this confidence is affected; therefore the system makes no mistakes; therefore the public has confidence in the system.

2004-0315 - The Press - Shadow of doubt over Ellis report
by Jonathon Harper - Advice from the Ministry of Justice officials may have meant the Eichelbaum report on convicted sex offender Peter Ellis was flawed before it was written......... His choice of experts and their advice has become open for scrutiny by New Zealand experts in the field, who suggest that Eichelbaum's conclusion that the verdicts were safe was flawed and that the evidence for the conviction was not gathered according to best practice. Why it has taken the academic community so long to raise these issues and be heard remains a mystery.

2004-0312 - - More on the Eichelbaum Report Scandal
On the 13 June, 2000, an extraordinary meeting took place with a couple of Ministry Justice Officials (Val Sim and Michael Petherick) and Thomas Eichelbaum.  The following issues were discussed: a) The Appointment of Louise Sas; b) Justice Officials "explain" to Eichelbaum the difference between research psychologists and practitioner clinicians; (c) Eichelbaum "discounts" Professors Ceci and Goodman on the basis of their high profile and research direction over the last 15 years!; (d) Eichelbaum selects his preferred candidates as expert advisors on child suggestibility; (e)  Justice official Val Sim suggested that Sir Thomas may also wish to contact Professor Lyon and ask for suggestions for impartial experts.   Sir Thomas agreed!

2004-0312 - NZ Parliament - Justice and Electoral Committee
The committee’s next meeting will be on 17 March, when it will consider the …. petition 2002/55 of Lynley Jane Hood and Don Brash and 807 others

2004-0311 - - Dalziel pulls out of Ellis probe
Editorial - Opinion - This site applauds the actions of Lianne Dalziel in at last being honest; coming clean and declaring her relationships with the Ellis case.  What is still not clear is the influence that she has already had on the case while she was a senior member of the Government, with justice responsibilities.

2004-0311 - The Press - Dalziel pulls out of Ellis probe
Personal links to the Christchurch Civic Creche case have seen Christchurch East MP Lianne Dalziel remove herself from a related parliamentary investigation. Dalziel yesterday declared conflicts of interest to the select committee weighing a petition calling for a commission of inquiry. …..Dalziel has a personal connection to two children who attended the creche. She is also married to Rob Davidson, whose first wife, Gaye, was Ellis's supervisor at the creche……."I'm conflicted on both sides," Dalziel said. "I will be absent from all considerations of the Ellis petition."

2004-0308 - - Commissions of Inquiry
Editorial - Opinion - The Government does no service to anybody by promoting retired judges to their level of incompetence.  It seems a pity that Eichelbaum appears destined to be remembered for his role of Commissioner in his severely flawed Ellis Inquiry, rather than for his considerable experience and years as a Judge.

2004-0307 - - Eichelbaum files revealed
Eichelbaum asks Sim if he should ignore Thorp Report; ….How Eichelbaum was hoodwinked by the Ministry of Justice with reasons to "discount" any expert who may have disagreed with the Crown; ….The process of appointing the "experts" to Eichelbaum's "Inquiry"; ….How Val Sim justified "discounting" all the experts that she didn't want to advise Eichelbaum!; ….What Ablett Kerr had to say about Eichelbaum's rejection of Ceci and Bruck as experts; ….The influence of Professor Thomas Lyon as advisor to Eichelbaum.     ……The credibility of Eichelbaum's report lies in tatters.   Was the whole process a setup? And if so, by who?            (Documents Index)

2004-0305 - NZ Parliament - Justice and Electoral Committee
Changes in Committee Membership - Lianne Dalziel replaced Mita Ririnui
The committee met on 3 March to consider the ……… petition 2002/55 of Lynley Jane Hood, Don Brash and 807 others

2004-0227 - NZ Parliament - Justice and Electoral Committee
The committee met on 25 February to consider the ……..petition 2002/55 of Lynley Jane Hood, Don Brash and 807 others. Next week the committee will meet on 3 March to …. consider the ….. petition 2002/55 of Lynley Jane Hood, Don Brash and 807 others.

2004-0209 - NZ Herald - Ellis note reinstated
NZPA - Refer Press report 2004-0207

2004-0207 - The Press - MP questions removal of sentence from Ellis inquiry report
The ministry has been accused of having a "vested interest" in the Ellis case…….Documents released by…Katherine Rich show the Ministry of Justice withheld a sentence from a report which she had requested under the Official Information Act. Mrs Rich had requested a copy of a 2001 ministry report, prepared for Justice Minister Phil Goff, which looked at holding a commission of inquiry into the Ellis case. When she received her copy one sentence had been blacked out.  Mrs Rich appealed that decision to the Ombudsman, who ruled against the department and allowed the sentence to be released publicly. The sentence in question states: "It has to be acknowledged, however, that such an inquiry is unlikely to be able to arrive at the truth and, whatever its findings, may fail to satisfy current public doubts."

2004-0202 - NZ Herald - Victory for adult victims of children's abuse lies
by Michael Corballis - Last month, in a landmark case in Saskatoon, Canada, Queen's Bench Justice George Baynton upheld a charge against three individuals for malicious prosecution of 12 adults accused of satanic ritual abuse of three children……The original case shares several features with that of the Christchurch Civic Creche, which resulted in the conviction of Peter Ellis on charges of the sexual abuse of children. Both took place in the early 1990s when hysteria over satanic ritual abuse was at its peak; both involved the zealous efforts of a police officer bent on exposing such abuse; and in both cases a mental health professional was critically involved.

2004-0201 - The Observer - Schooled in scandal
(related to the British Hutton Inquiry, with comment by this site about the relevance to the New Zealand Eichelbaum Inquiry)
by Nick Cohen - Judge-led inquiries have a long track record of failing to criticise governments of their day……The wonder of the past six months is that so many people, from Michael Howard to anti-war protesters, have failed to learn from the history of judicial inquiries that fearless honesty is not their distinguishing characteristic. Judges nearly always pull their punches. A few do so with regret. Most wouldn't want to lay a finger on the state even if they thought they could get away with it.


2004-0200 - NZ Skeptics - Interview with the Giraffe

Hokum Locum talks with one of the unsung victims of the Christchurch Civic Creche.

The New Zealand Judiciary has consistently refused to face up to that gross miscarriage of justice, the Christchurch Civic Creche case. There has been a call for "new" evidence. 

In a sensational development I recently tracked down "Julian" (not his real name) at a secret Christchurch address.

2004-0130 - NZ Herald - Handling sexual abuse
by John Anderson - The disquiet over the Peter Ellis case should show the dangers of further weakening the adversarial system. 

2004-0126 - NZ Herald - Baby memories trick of the mind
by Simon Collins - "Under optimal conditions, children can be highly accurate in their ability to talk about the past and to recall abuse," she [Harlene Hayne] says. "The bottom line is that you can't ask young children leading questions. That is the first rule of interviewing children."

2004-0122 - One News - Jury trial changes planned
Unanimous jury decisions may become a thing of the past under a new law to be introduced by the Justice Minister.... Green Party warns that a move away from unanimous verdicts could increase the chance of juries delivering an unsafe verdict

2004-0117 - The Press - Scapegoats
by Charles Clark - The civic creche imbroglio and the scapegoating of Peter Ellis seem increasingly ridiculous as we begin to gain a sense of perspective on what were the very difficult years of the late '80s and early '90s

2004-0103 - NZ Herald - Goff plans tougher pardon rules
by Audrey Young - Justice Minister Phil Goff is planning tougher standards for the appeal of last resort in the criminal justice system, the Royal Prerogative of Mercy…… Of the application by convicted child-sex offender Peter Ellis, Mr Goff was more critical. "Clearly in the Ellis case, critics aren't aware of the requirements of the need for fresh evidence," he said.