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Peter Ellis - Other arrests / Appeal fails
Rumour had it, that the crèche was a house of mass ritual sexual abuse. Then came allegations that Ellis had not been alone in his alleged crimes and that four female crèche staff had also been participants. Gaye Davidson, Debbie Gillespie, Marie Keys and Jan Buckingham were arrested on child abuse charges. These were later dismissed. The court ruled that the attendant publicity because of their association with Ellis would preclude the women from obtaining a fair trial.

Ellis faced 25 charges and in 1993, was found guilty on 16. Of interest was that there was no medical evidence to support the children's claims. The children had been subjected to several videotaped interviews and some added more incidents each time. (Since, new guidelines for video-taped interviews have been drawn up which say a child complainant should be questioned only once).

Appeal fails

In 1994, one of the children whom Ellis was convicted of abusing told her parents she had lied. The matter was taken to the Court of Appeal but was not upheld. The Court found that the retraction might well be a matter of self-denial on the alleged victim’s part, which does happen in some cases as victims seek to forget what happened to them.

In his summing up, Judge Williamson told Ellis, “The jury also heard your own evidence and that of the other former Christchurch Civic Crèche workers. The jury disbelieved you. They believed the children and I agree with that assessment".

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