Episode 6 of the Newsroom series Peter Ellis, the creche case and me looks into the repeated attempts to free Ellis from prison.
In never-before-seen footage and interviews, this gripping new series takes you inside one of New Zealand’s most controversial legal cases, when a kind of madness gripped Christchurch, resulting in a miscarriage of justice that would take 30 years to put right.
Peter Ellis, the creche case & me is an 8-part Newsroom Investigates video series and podcast presented by Melanie Reid. WATCH EPISODE 6 ABOVE OR LISTEN TO THE PODCAST
While Peter Ellis sat in prison, developments in the case kept coming.
Just a year after Ellis was convicted, the star child witness retracted her testimony saying she had not been abused by him at all.
In 1997, reporter Melanie Reid’s investigation got the case back to the Court of Appeal. In it, she revealed that Colin Eade, the key detective on the case had allegedly propositioned a complainant mother, went on have affairs with two other mothers and one of the social welfare specialists.
“The Peter Ellis affair is fast becoming the Colin Eade affairs,” announced the newsreader on TV3’s 6pm news.
Reid’s 1997 report also revealed that two of the jurors in Ellis’ trial had undisclosed connections to people involved in the case – one to a complainant mother and the other to the Crown prosecutor.
Meanwhile, Ellis’ legal team asked the Governor-General three times to pardon him and repeatedly pushed for a wide-ranging commission of inquiry, all to no avail.
Ellis supporters had a morale boost when National Party MP and former minister of police John Banks did a U-turn, going from describing Ellis as “walking evil” to calling for his release from prison.
Police Commissioner, Peter Doone, promised to investigate police conduct in the case but throughout this period Ellis remained locked down in Christchurch Prison.
To quote Ellis in one of his interviews with Reid: “The people who have the power can sort it out so easily, but they choose not to … It’s easier to leave it status quo.” Even so, he remained hopeful: “I still blindly look for silver in the clouds.”
This series contains discussion of themes that some people may find distressing. Click here for a list of support services and helplines.