After a near 30 year battle, the Supreme Court has cleared Peter Ellis.

While he may not have been alive to see it, the Supreme Court has today quashed Peter Ellis’ child abusive convictions. 

The court found the convictions were a, “substantial miscarriage of justice.”


Ellis was working as a childcare worker at the Christchurch Civic Creche in 1993 when he was found guilty of 16 sexual abuse charges against children at the creche. 

He would spend seven years in prison, maintaining his innocence throughout his sentence and after his release. 

Ellis was granted an appeal in 2019 but would die later that year of cancer. 

His lawyer argued Ellis deserved Tikanga – the right to establish the mana of a dead person.  

The Supreme Court decision ends a nearly three decade long battle to clear his name. Ellis first appealed his case in 1994 where three of his convictions were overturned. His second appeal against the remaining 13 convictions was dismissed in 1999.

Ellis was 33 years old when he faced child sex abuse allegations in November 1991, against a backdrop of a ‘moral panic’ about child sex abuse in western countries. 

Many commentators have also attributed the convictions to Ellis’ sexuality. Peter Ellis was openly gay.