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Peter Ellis - Is Ellis guilty or innocent?
The 20/20 programme and the attendant publicity once again raises the question of whether Ellis is a rightly convicted paedophile or the innocent victim of a flawed investigation and prosecution. The problem with the public debate since the 20/20 programme, is that it has been one-sided. The programme did not set out to be objective and only made the case for a re-examination of the investigation and prosecution. Supporters of the police handling of the complaints are constrained from going public because their appearance may lead to the alleged victims (their children) being identified.
Police have so-far, not chosen to defend the quality and fidelity of their handling of the Ellis case through the media, nor has the Crown Law Office or the Department of Courts (re the jury). From the time of the arrests in 1992, police have steadfastly refused to debate the Ellis case through the media, saying the courts were the proper forums for the case to be judged.

While that is a noble argument, the State’s silence makes it difficulty for ordinary members of the public, who are only hearing from Ellis’s supporters, to make balanced judgments.

Five years have passed since prosecutions were commenced. While one of the alleged victims has since tried to recant her complaint, Ellis was convicted on 16 charges and parents of the other alleged victims have today (20 November) issued a statement saying they had full confidence in former detective Eade, in the way police dealt with the inquiry and with Ellis’s convictions. Eade told Radio New Zealand on the same day, that he would be quite happy with any inquiry and remains convinced Ellis is guilty as charged.

Colin Eade told Morning Report he left the police after the Ellis prosecution because he was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. (This is a type of ‘battle fatigue’, and an ailment not uncommon in police and in military personnel facing combat situations). Publicity in the last few days has given an impression the Ellis investigation was done solely by Colin Eade. But this was not so and the officer in charge was Detective Sergeant Bob Hardie of Christchurch who led a team of 15 detectives. In turn, Bob Hardie was supervised by Detective Inspector Brian Pearce.

Bob Hardie says every aspect of the investigation was scrutinised by the Crown and the Crown Prosecutor provided advice throughout the investigation. Decision on charges were not made by police but by the Crown Solicitor.

Police might well be in a no win situation over the Ellis case. While they are being roundly criticised now by Ellis’s supporters, might the situation be reversed with the parents of the alleged victims calling for an inquiry into why police took no action against Ellis?

The children who, at the time said they had been abused cannot be re-interviewed. Regardless of the outcome of the Ablett-Kerr petition or the police inquiry or whether Ellis serves his sentence or is pardoned, the controversy won’t end.

Next related article: Forward to Ellis to be bailed?Ellis to be bailed?
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