4 Oct 2021

Hearing of historic Ellis case due to get underway in Supreme Court

6:43 am on 4 October 2021

A historic appeal against Peter Ellis' sexual offending convictions begins at the Supreme Court, in Wellington, today.

The Supreme Court referred the case to the Court of Appeal earlier this year. - Port of Otago case over environmental impact of port activities

Photo: LDR / Chloe Ranford

Ellis, a Christchurch childcare worker who died in September 2019, was convicted on 16 sexual offending charges against seven children in 1993.

It will be the first time in New Zealand that a conviction is appealed by a dead person.

Ellis, who always maintained his innocence, was granted the appeal before his death.

It is his third appeal, after two in the 1990s: the first resulted in three convictions being quashed but the second appeal against the remaining 13 was dismissed in 1999.

This new appeal is on the grounds of whether a miscarriage of justice occurred in the 1999 decision.

The key arguments will look at the use of evidence, the jury, and whether Ellis was afforded a fair trial.

Peter Ellis always maintained his innocence after being found guilty of 16 counts of sexual abuse in 1993, and repeatedly sought to overthrow the convictions.

Peter Ellis, who always maintained his innocence, was granted the appeal before his death in September 2019. Photo: Getty Images

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court ruled out the use of some new evidence for the Crown's case that came to its attention after Ellis's death, including an affidavit from a woman who said Ellis was her babysitter and sexually assaulted her as a child in 1982 or 1983.

The appeal is set down for two weeks.

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