The Christchurch Civic Crèche Case

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This page last updated May 21 2009

NZ Justice - (graphic)
Graphic: How Louise Sas became a “world expert”

From August 2000 - Eichelbaum Inquiry Correspondence   
 (additions May 2009)

Continuing correspondence between Eichelbaum and Justice Minister Goff's staff, dealing with the final appointment of the "experts". 

After a three month selection process Eichelbaum surrounds himself with Louise Sas and Graham Davies as experts in the field of child suggestibility, but without shame discounts Professor Ceci!

July 2000 - Eichelbaum Inquiry - Submissions

·           Submission by Judith Ablett Kerr on behalf of Peter Ellis

·           Submission by the Commissioner for Children

·           Submission on behalf of the Parents

·           Submission by Crown Law

March-July - Eichelbaum Inquiry Correspondence

Correspondence primarily between Eichelbaum and Justice Minister Goff's staff, Val Sim and Michael Petherick. The correspondence highlights the selection process of the so called experts, and how the trio justified excluding experts suggested by the defence. 

The correspondence clearly shows why the
Eichelbaum report is a scandal; Why it was doomed from it's inception; and why it has no resulting credibility. The particular role of Val Sim in this process is highlighted.

March 27 - Phil Goff refuses to release Thorp Report

Phil Goff - Minister of Justice - Letter to:
Mr Wealleans - Christchurch

"The report of Sir Thomas Thorp …is withheld under the following sections of the Official Information Act 1982:…………"

"In my opinion there are no countervailing considerations which render it desirable, in the public interest, to make the information available"

Phil Goff attempts a cover up of a report that he does not want the public to see.  The report was eventually leaked, and can be seen on this site
( Link to Thorp Report )


March 7 - Cabinet Policy Committee

Options for Further Inquiry into the Ellis case     

Sarah Egan, Secretary to Cabinet

Cover Page and Introduction

  87 KB pdf

Hon Phil Goff, Minister of Justice

Memorandum to Cabinet

187 KB pdf

Colin Keating, Secretary of Justice

Memorandum to Minister of Justice

826 KB pdf

Hon Margaret Wilson, Attorney General

Memorandum to Cabinet

667 KB pdf


Margaret Wilson: Inquiries have proved useful in other jurisdictions where it is clear interviewing practices have failed, for example where because of the way in which children were interviewed the" Court decided it would be unsafe to allow them to give evidence. But the Court of Appeal is satisfied that is not the case here. The processes for addressing convictions in cases of public doubt has operated and has affirmed them. There is a public interest in victims and jurors not having their truthfulness or views further looked into by official processes. In those circumstances the government should consider the neutral stance of support for the adequacy of our criminal justice process


Colin Keating: There are two possible approaches to this application for a pardon and a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Ellis case.

The first is to consider Mr Ellis's application for a pardon at the outset. Established principles would suggest that in these circumstances the application should be declined. This would not preclude the Government establishing an inquiry into the need for reform of the law and administrative practice surrounding the investigation and prosecution of mass allegation child sex abuse cases once the application for pardon is dealt with. An inquiry into these topics might go some way to allaying the public concerns about the way these cases are currently dealt with which have arisen in context of the Ellis case.

The second option is to inquire further into the reliability of the children's' evidence. The Court of Appeal was unable to look at this issue comprehensively because of the form in which the evidence was presented and the constraints of its appellate role. Essentially, such an inquiry would involve an investigating into the problems associated with obtaining children's' evidence and assessing in light of that investigation whether there are doubts about the reliability of the evidence of the children involved in Mr Ellis's trial which would impact on the safety of the convictions. An inquiry of this kind could be undertaken either by a Commission of Inquiry or by Ministerial appointment. On balance the latter may be preferable primarily because it is less formal and public and therefore will cause less distress and trauma for the creche children and their families.


Phil Goff: On balance, a Ministerial inquiry would be the best method for investigating the matters outlined above. Such an inquiry would be less public and would result in a minimum of adverse impact on the creche children and their families.


The main limitation of a Ministerial inquiry is that, unlike a Commission of Inquiry, the inquiry would lack the power to compel evidence. This is, however, unlikely to impose a problem in the context of this kind of inquiry, which will depend upon the assessment of expert opinion rather than the resolution of disputed facts.