As Peter Ellis fights his terminal bladder cancer diagnosis, the former creche worker is one step closer to clearing his name.
Peter Ellis is one step closer to clearing the 13 convictions he has in relation to sexually abusing seven children during the early 1990s in Christchurch.
The former Christchurch civic creche worker was originally found guilty of 16 counts of sexual abuse. One of the children recanted his evidence with the convictions then reduced to 13.
He served seven years of a ten-year sentence.
Ellis has now won a chance to have the Supreme Court hear his case in what has been called by some within the New Zealand law community as one of this nation’s worst “miscarriages of justice.”
A number of lawyers, journalists and academics have cited homophobia as a major contributing factor towards Ellis’ convictions.
The last time the Ellis case was heard was before the Court of Appeal 20 years ago.
Following his release in 2000, author Lynley Hood published A City Possessed, which argued that the miscarriage of justice was a result of a moral panic that swept Christchurch at the time the allegations were made.
The book has been widely read by a number of New Zealand politicians including former National party leader Don Brash who began a petition in 2003 for the case to be re-examined.
Brash says the Supreme Court “needs to hurry” in hearing Ellis’ case.
Ellis told Stuff last week it was time “to put it out there again” referring to the case. The decision was not related to his cancer diagnosis.
“I have no intention to enlisting the sympathy vote. I’ve never wavered, I’ve never changed my stance. It will stand on its own merits.”
The Supreme Court decision to hear the case couldn’t have come sooner as Ellis has been told he has only three months left to live.
Image – Peter Ellis on the cover of North & South magazine in November 2015.