Section Twelve

Appendices 1-5

Contents:

Appendix (1)
. The genesis of this report
Appendix (2)
. Aliases, ages, verdict and interview data
Appendix (3)
. Other possible NZ cases
Appendix (4)
. Draft table of currently supported good interview practices for pre-school children.
Appendix (5)
. The Terms of Reference

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Appendix 1

 

The genesis of this report.

I have no personal stake in, nor connection with, the Christchurch Civic Child Care Centre case. I began to seriously examine the scientific issues surrounding the case shortly after the trial. Primarily it interests me due to its similarity to other recorded cases involving public delusion and hysteria, some of which I had previously studied whilst at university. I also have an interest in the science concerning the reliability of human memory. I suspected at the time that the case resembled an historical witch-hunt such as the one in Salem, USA. However, I maintained an open mind during my investigation. Since I am qualified in psychology I initially surveyed recent copies of respected international psychological journals. I looked at all articles that may have been relevant to the case. I then applied the mainstream findings of this literature to the case. Quite early on in this research I consulted with Ken Strongman (Head of psychology at Canterbury University) to ensure I was indeed reading sound research. He was prepared to confirm this.

I interviewed expert witness Karen Zelas three times, in depth and at length, about her interpretation and application of research in general. After the second interview, I came away with a strong feeling that I was possibly wrong and was being unfair. I also met and talked with one of the interviewers Crawford, in order to see how she might have been applying this knowledge. She was not as convincing. About this stage, I published an article in Parent and School (the PTA magazine) for whom I had been writing a series of articles. I recall that the new editor was not pleased with my article, but published it. In it, I was mildly critical of the work of Karen Zelas. I contacted an old colleague (from the period that I worked as a DSW social worker), Sue Caton (now at CYPS), with my concerns. In addition, I expressed concerns in writing to the Christchurch CYPS office.

When the Eichelbaum report was released I was surprised at its conclusion when viewed in regard to the research I had carried out. I decided to spend many hours examining Eichelbaum's findings in detail and over a long period. As I was preparing this report, Lynley Hood’s book, A City Possessed, was published. I e-mailed an early draft of this document to Lynley Hood, and a few other academics. As a result of my discussions with them, further insights were gained and some factual errors on my part corrected. I undertook further study of the scientific literature in order to re-examine my findings. I then almost shelved this analysis but was fortunate that Richard Christie took an interest in editing it, this resulted in further substantial changes being made to the draft.

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Appendix 2

 

Aliases, ages, verdict and interview data

Age is at the first formal interview. Time lapse is the time since last attending the Christchurch Civic Childcare Centre until the first formal interview. Span is the period between first and final interviews.

Sue Sidey conducted all interviews of the children that resulted in the standing convictions except the single interview of O and the first interview of X, which were conducted by Lynda Morgan

Colman aliases are the initial of the first name of Hood pseudonyms, e.g. Bart Dogwood = B.

Ms X/Dogwood (who wrote A Mother’s Story) used the nom-de-plume Joy Bander.

[N.B. Eichelbaum’s report includes interview data only in those cases where the interview(s) of complainant children resulted in conviction].

In order of the verdicts:

 

Eichelbaum code

Hood alias

Guilty

Not Guilty

Age

Time Lapse (months)

Span of interviews (weeks)

No of Interviews

Notes

N

Zelda Cypress

3

0

9

50+

.

3

Retracted her accusations, all convictions overturned on appeal.

O

Molly Sumach

1

0

7y8m

30

n/a

1

.

V

Abigal Fir

0

1

.

18+

.

2

.

R

Eli Laurel

1

1

5y6m

6

24 (approx)

3

.

Y

Julian Yew

0

1

6y7m

.

19

5

.

S

Tess Hickory

2

2

6y6m

18

14

3

+3 counts discharged.

X

Bart Dogwood

3

1

6y2m

15

24

5

Not guilty on the circle incident

Z

Kari Lacebark

4

0

5y6m

7

35

6

The most effective witness

T

Yelenda Holly

0

2

.

.

.

3

.

P

Derek Ngaio

0

1

.

.

.

2

.

Q

Lara Palm

2

0

6

.

39

3

.

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Appendix 3

 

Other possible NZ cases

It seems to me that many commentators appear unaware that there may be more cases over the past fifteen years that are possibly every bit as bad as the Ellis one, but have simply failed to generate the same attention.

I recall that after the Ellis case, at the time I was interviewing Zelas, I spoke on the phone to a young male part-time crèche worker in Wellington, who had been accused of sexually abusing the children in his care. I recall telling him that after speaking to Ken Strongman, and a number of other academics, that if he had done nothing wrong, he could probably rely on a fair trial. I heard later that he had been imprisoned. I may well have grossly misadvised him. I also wonder if Prue Vincent (see section(4)) had something to do with this trial. It was probably the May 1994 conviction of Geoff Scott, found guilty on 8 out of 17 charges of sexually abusing pre-school children in his care. This case followed the familiar pattern of a child's behaviour problems raising suspicions of abuse in an adult, and children subsequently undergoing repeated discussion and interrogation by parents and the authorities until they started to disclose stories of Geoff’s "yucky touching" them. Contributing to this was the fact that the children had previously had considerable exposure to sexual abuse "prevention" programmes and books, which emphasis that no one is allowed to touch their "private parts". As a crèche worker, Geoff had in fact frequently touched them in the process of toileting and cleaning them.

 

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Appendix 4

 

Draft table of currently supported good interview practices for pre-school children.

Practices supported by research

Agreed to by Sas

Agreed to by Davies

Adhered to in the Ellis case

A limit of two evidential interviews

no

.

no

No leading questions

no

.

no

Less than a six month? delay after the alleged events. (otherwise the reliability is not assured due to childhood amnesia)

no

No

no

Do not use anatomically correct dolls

.

.

no

Interviews should be conducted in situ

Not discussed

Not discussed

no

Interviews should never exceed 45? minutes

Partly

yes

no

Only open-ended, and not forced choice questions should be used in eliciting autobiographical memories.

No

partly

no

No verbal or non-verbal reinforcements (rewards) for making allegations as opposed to statements that are not allegations

Not discussed in detail

.

Not fully assessed

Source monitoring. Eg "did that really happen, or did anyone tell you that?"

yes

Yes

Sometimes, but not enough, especially when the more credible allegations were made

There should be no therapy before the evidential interviews

?

?

no

The interviewer should accept denials that something happened. (Further probing could ensure the child believes that the "nothing happened" answer is not what was wanted.)

yes

Yes

no

Interviewers must not ask children to "imagine" details.

no?

Yes?

no

Interviewer must never suggest to a child that others have made allegations.

yes

Yes

no

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Appendix 5

 

The Terms of Reference

10 March 2000

MINISTERIAL INQUIRY INTO THE PETER ELLIS CASE

The Minister of Justice appoints you [Sir Thomas Eichelbaum] to inquire in the manner set out below into matters which may be relevant to the assessment of the reliability of evidence given by the children who attended the Christchurch civic crèche against Peter Hugh McGregor Ellis and to report on whether there are any such matters which give rise to doubts about the assessment of the children’s evidence to an extent which would render the convictions of Peter Hugh McGregor Ellis unsafe and warrant the grant of pardon.

You are to:

(1)

(a) Review the reports and memoranda listed in the schedule and

(i) identify the processes, practices and procedures currently accepted internationally as best practice for investigating mass allegation child abuses and interviewing children in these cases: and

(ii) identify any risks associated with a failure to adhere to best practice.

(b) On the basis of the evidence given at both the depositions and the trial, assess whether the investigation into the events at the Christchurch civic crèche case and the interviews of children were conducted in accordance with best practice as now understood.

(c) If you conclude that the interviews were not conducted in accordance with best practice, identify the nature and extent of any risks which arise, which might affect the assessment of the reliability of the children’s evidence. In conducting this task you are not required to attribute or apportion blame to particular individuals who undertook the interviews. The focus of the task is on the evaluation of systems and techniques and their impact on the children.

 

In undertaking the tasks referred in (1) above, you are to invite, and consider, written submissions from the Crown Law Office (on behalf of the Police, Department of Social Welfare and Specialist Interviewers), Peter Ellis, the families of the children who gave evidence at the Ellis trial, and the Commissioner for Children.

(2)           For the purpose of the assessment and the conclusions under (1) above, you are to:

(a) Seek and evaluate opinions from at least two internationally recognised experts (if possible with experience in mass allegation child sexual abuse) on whether there are features of the investigation and/or interviews of the children (on the basis of the evidence at depositions and trial) which may have affected the reliability of the children’s evidence, and if so, their likely impact.

(b) In selecting the experts from whom opinions are to be sought you are to:

(i) invite and consider submissions from the Crown Law Office, Mr Peter Ellis, the families of the children who gave evidence at Mr Ellis’s trial and the Commissioner for Children; and

(ii) make such further inquiries as you consider necessary to ensure that the experts from whom opinions are sought reasonably reflect the range of professional views.

(3)           In light of your assessment and conclusion in (1) and (2) above, you are to report by 31 August 2000 on whether there are any matters which give rise to doubts about the assessment of the children’s evidence to an extent which would render the convictions of Peter Hugh McGregor Ellis unsafe and warrant the grant of pardon.

SCHEDULE

Report of the Inquiry into Child Abuse in Cleveland 1987;

Report of the Inquiry into the Removal of Children from Orkney Isles in February 1991;

The 1992 Memorandum of Good Practice (England);

The Joint New Zealand Children and Young Persons Service and Police Operating Guidelines of March 1997;

The Final Report of the Royal Commission into the New South Wales Police Service of May 1997;

Law Commission. Total Recall? The Reliability of Witness Testimony. A Consultation Paper (July 1999); and

Analysis of Child Molestation Issues Report No 7, a report by the 1993/4 San Diego County Grand Jury, June 1, 1994.

                               

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