We only mention it because there is a direct parallel with a case in Kapiti that most people are aware of and which unfortunately has been raised — in a quite inappropriate manner — by two grandstanding present councilors.
NZ’s legal history is peppered with cases where innocent people have been convicted despite the believed safeguards of due process and the jury system and then subsequently exonerated; just a handful of them are Arthur Allen Thomas, Teina Pora, David Dougherty (no relation to Patrick Dougherty), David Bain and Aaron Farmer.
One of the things that law students do is select their favorite case of believed wrongful conviction, analyse it and present their take on what went wrong.
In the Peter Ellis case, author Lynley Hood wrote a book in 2001 entitled A City Possessed which concluded Ellis was innocent, and it had a big impact on your editors. We highly recommend it. We believe the Kapiti case is another example.
“A long-time supporter of Peter Ellis says his case will not be allowed to die with him.
“Ellis, 61, died at a hospice about noon on Wednesday after battling advanced bladder cancer. He had been fighting to clear his name some 26 years after he was convicted of sex offences against seven children at the Christchurch Civic Creche.
“In July, he filed a successful application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court. He lost his case in the Court of Appeal nearly 20 years ago, in October 1999.
“His lawyer, Robert Harrison, said Ellis “slipped away peacefully” surrounded by family and friends.