Most credible witness in the infamous Christchurch Civic Creche case speaks out
“Peter was a goldfish in a shark tank. I was also in the shark tank. There was no empathy. It was an attack on an innocent man. It was an attack on the truth.”
These are the words of the oldest and most “compelling and believable” complainant at the centre of the Christchurch Civic Creche case.
This week Newsroom published an investigation into the story of this girl through her parents, breaking their 30-year silence to talk about how they became embroiled in one of New Zealand’s longest-running and most controversial legal sagas.
…without her testimony the lead detective at the Christchurch Police Child Abuse Unit told her parents the case would fall over.
That same detective had been drinking when he came to visit them at their house one day, sometime before Ellis’ conviction.
The parents told Newsroom that over the course of the visit they expressed doubts about the direction the court case was heading. He responded by telling them if they didn’t get their daughter to testify they would be as “perverted as Peter Ellis” and would be responsible for a “filthy bastard kiddie #@## going free”.
Home visits!! – imagine if a defendant ever went to visit a main witness to put pressure on them during a trial.
And he wasn’t the only one to show up at their home – the crown prosecutor also popped by.
“He had his lawyer wig on, the horsehair. But he was very charming. And when he had finished talking to us, we felt that it was the right thing again to go ahead with going to court”.
WATCH: “How did we get so caught up in this travesty of justice?” For the first time, the mother of a child described as “the most credible and compelling witness” in the notorious Civic Creche case speaks out in an exclusive video interview, a gripping personal account of living through one of this country’s most infamous legal sagas.
It rocked New Zealand to its core and consumed media reports throughout the 1990s. Allegations of mass sexual abuse at the Christchurch Civic Creche became one the country’s longest running and most controversial cases – and it’s about to surge back into the public consciousness.