I’ve spent a couple of decades convinced that the convictions against Peter Ellis are unsafe. That doesn’t mean I’m convinced beyond doubt that he is innocent but that I am convinced there is more than reasonable doubt.
When I read last year that someone had come forward alleging Ellis abused them, ten years before the Chch creche case, I did wonder if this was proof he was guilty as the complainant had no connection with the other complainants.
But the Supreme Court has ruled the allegations as inadmissible, and reading through you can see why. There are huge credibility gaps in the complainants identification of Ellis. A summary is:
- She says Ellis was her babysitter and abused her in 1982 or 1983 when she was 4 or 5.
- She says Ellis worked or volunteered at a kindergarten, where her mother was a cleaner. A longstanding employee says she does not recall Ellis ever working there. A former civic creche employee says Ellis never worked in childcare before the Civic Creche.
- She says Ellis’ mother worked as a barmaid at the Royal George Tavern in Christchurch in 1982/83. Ellis’ siblings all say their mother never was a barmaid and lived in Twizel until 1986.
- She says she felt guilty in 1993 when she watched the trials for not reporting the 1983 abuse. This contradicts here later claim she recognized him as the abuser in 2007 when watching a documentary.
- She says she told her boyfriend about it when she was 15. The boyfriend has no recollection of this.
- In an ACC counselling session in 2006 she said the perpetrator was an uncle and then later a babysitter
You can see why the Supreme Court ruled the allegations as inadmissable. It is a good reminder that memories can be confused.