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Most credible witness in the infamous Christchurch Civic Creche case speaks out

Filed under: Sex Abuse / CYF — JohnPotter @ 7:08 pm Mon 13th June 2022

“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.

‘Peter was a goldfish in a shark tank’

…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”.

‘Peter Ellis did not abuse our child’

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.


  1. We could go down the path of drawing comparisons on a much larger scale with the government misinformation during Covid which thankfully didn’t survive the scrutiny of our High Court.

    Comment by Evan Myers — Tue 14th June 2022 @ 10:34 am

  2. It certainly does not instil faith in the Law, no wonder faith and law used to conjoin, without that now the law is not questioned more?.. we are free as a society to speak out against such travesties of the justice systems?,,,, I personally could never have been swayed by a wig wearing nasty, but I have many a time been seen as a trouble maker in my own life,, you can never speak out on your own in this country, why are we so afraid to be the one, I guess it is hard, that is why it needs to be the many..we are still a democracy, believe it or NOT.

    Comment by mama — Tue 14th June 2022 @ 11:43 am

  3. You are correct mama, as we do have democracy.
    And in general, it’s flaws are less than the good parts.
    And just as important, is the legal system.
    In this case, it doesn’t look good at all.

    The case, is just to bizarre to be real.
    The events in the background, is simply insane.
    One has to question the sanity, for an extreme phobia.
    Then it all got acted out, becoming real.

    How can you pay the debt of wrongs, to a dead man.
    If only our legal system, treated perjury seriously.
    What of those who knew, the testimony was false.
    Do they claim innocence, blinded by there phobia.

    We’re they just the first, to believe any sex abuse complaint.
    I doubt they are the first, or will be the last.
    There must be many, wrongly convicted dead men.
    That never got the spotlight, like this case.

    No lawyer should be left, without criticism.
    If innocent, then even the defence lawyer is guilty.
    Did they not fail, when they should have succeeded.
    What of the ministers, what of those in charge as time was lost.

    Comment by DJ Ward — Tue 14th June 2022 @ 8:28 pm

  4. “ How can you pay the debt of wrongs, to a dead man.”

    As we normally would. In a search for answers if not some truth.

    It was not so long ago that suicide was a criminal investigation. Now we wouldn’t know how many people leapt in front of train or landed there through foul play.

    Even our larger inquiries, the few that we have are heavily censored in what is available to the public.

    Perhaps the better question is how do we address the deterioration in the respect for life that we had a few short years ago?

    Comment by Evan Myers — Wed 15th June 2022 @ 7:43 am

  5. I liked your comment, on criminal investigation.
    Imagine forcing the crown to answer, a few simple questions.

    How many males committed suicide, while pregnant.
    How many then committed suicide in a relationship, vs not in one.
    Times also important, as they may not suicide until they get the bill.

    A few is obviously a tiny number, of questions.
    What then, if it’s as deadly as it looks.

    We do have some respect, for life.
    Childbirth s pretty safe, for females

    An unknown identifiable group, will be the excuse.

    Comment by DJ Ward — Wed 15th June 2022 @ 6:54 pm

  6. I also liked, another one of your comments.

    “As we normally would. In a search for answers if not some truth.”

    So in the case, it wasn’t a search for answers.
    The problem, is the questions weren’t asked.
    If you don’t have the question, then you can’t have the answer.

    Yet three decades have past, and we still have new questions.
    In the investigation, we’re there questions testing his guilt or innocence.
    I doubt there were any questions, to have any answers for Ellis.

    Yet the oldest child, said it didn’t happen in the first police interview.
    And as an adult, can rationally testify events didn’t happen.
    The crown fights, for the children to young for memory.

    Who can give, no answers that can be trusted.
    Certainly one can ask, how many interviews did they have.
    Including interrogation, by parents making stories.

    Ellis shows how beliefs, are not proof.

    I think it’s also helped over time, as things are better.
    The legal system and police, interview better.
    So his sacrifices, may actually stop other persecutions happening.

    Comment by DJ Ward — Wed 15th June 2022 @ 7:34 pm

  7. Ellis took creche children to his home, alone, on some occasions. Even back then, that was either sinister or the height of stupidity and ignorance about teachers’ ethics and need to be seen to be safe. But even if he had ever done anything inappropriate, he should never have been convicted on the basis of the children’s evidence so contaminated through repeated, leading questioning by parents, social workers and police, and cherry-picked by the Crown so the jury would not hear all the incredible nonsense those children also claimed. The trial was also corrupted by ridiculous evidence from a feminist psychologist who claimed that all manner of the children’s behaviour and presentation was ‘consistent with’ having been sexually abused, then when asked if there was any behaviour or presentation that would not be consistent with being sexually abused, answered “no”.

    The recent quashing of Alan Hall’s murder and wounding convictions exposed our justice system as prioritizing self-justification over fairness to an accused. Previous Appeal Courts were made aware of the Crown’s withholding and altering witness description of the real offender, and police refusal to provide Hall with a lawyer even when he asked for one during their lengthy interrogations (in total 23 hours) of this man with intellectual disability. Yet those Appeal Courts upheld the convictions. Now the Supreme Court quashes the conviction after this man has had most of his adult life wasted by the case and imprisonment, on the same evidence that the previous Courts had been given. How can anyone have trust in that system?

    Comment by Ministry of Men's Affairs — Thu 16th June 2022 @ 12:04 am

  8. How can anyone have trust in that system?

    I would suggest it is not so much the system that is at fault but the methods used to defeat it.

    The significant changes that could be looked at

    The implementation of policy through prosecution agencies, especially police as opposed to interpreted law for which the appellant system is primarily designed.

    The shift to a more civil jurisdiction has seen a loss of independence and an unhealthy transition of participants from public servants to officers of the court.

    Significant changes occurred in the Clark Administration in that respect.

    The debates over the changes to select committees and their ability to advise government have been previously debated here possibly more so than in public along with the development and increasing influence of the Law Commission.

    Much of which we are aware has happened in the name of feminism in not for the children and the next generation.

    If we go back to the 1960s we can see NZ was a sleepy post war back-water that struggled with its reintegration with the post war world. We were lost at the bottom of the Pacific for some 15 years and have struggled to keep pace with global development since.

    It will be a brave government that starts the clean out of the lazy and incompetent rabble that are paid by the government.

    Comment by Evan Myers — Thu 16th June 2022 @ 8:15 am

  9. The allegation is the verdict. Media, and now social media holds a trial.

    The very narrow enquiry, i.e. restricted or limited to create the desired outcome has always been the way in which our Governments operate.

    A few generations, maybe with future technology, could help.

    Ireland seems to have headed down the right track of not publishing names until a final verdict is reached.

    Comment by Lukenz — Fri 17th June 2022 @ 10:26 pm

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