INDEPENDENT NEWS

Peter Ellis granted leave to appeal case to Supreme Court

Published: Thu 1 Aug 2019 09:46 AM
Convicted child sex offender Peter Ellis has been granted leave to appeal his case at the Supreme Court.
Peter Ellis, pictured in 1992
Photo: Supplied Ellis, 61, was jailed for 10 years for abusing seven children at the Christchurch Civic Creche in 1991. He served seven years of that sentence, but has always maintained his innocence.
Sixteen charges were originally laid against him, based on the testimony of preschoolers.
Three of those charges were overturned in 1994 after one of the children said she lied.
A second challenge to the Court of Appeal was dismissed.
In 2001 there was Ministerial Inquiry by Sir Thomas Eichelbaumm, which concluded there was no risk of a miscarriage of justice.
The Supreme Court has been asked to consider if there was a miscarriage of justice due to the children's evidence being improperly obtained, a lack of expert evidence and unreliable expert evidence at trial.
Ellis said in his application for leave to appeal that the Court of Appeal erred in its second decision, by deciding their was no miscarriage of justice.
He said the evidential interviews fell far short of best practice, the jury was not appropriately assisted at trial by the expert witnesses, and the expert evidence was unreliable.
Ellis said there was now consensus in the scientific community as to what could compromise the accuracy of a child's report, and that should be considered.
He filed two affidavits, including one from Professor Harlene Hayne looking at the interviews conducted with children.
The Crown opposed Ellis' application.
The Court said in its decision that research in the affidavit of Professor Hayne had only recently been completed and was a new approach, significantly different from that available to the Court of Appeal in 1999.
It said her analysis could not have been completed any sooner.
As such, it said the affidavits "raise issues of general and public importance and significant issues specific to Mr Ellis' case".
A 2001 book by Lynley Hood, A City Possessed, criticised the convictions as "a witch hunt" and the result of mass hysteria.
However, attempts to get an independent inquiry in 2003, 2008 and 2014 all failed.
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