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Home » Peter Ellis' family welcome Supreme Court decision, say clearing name was all he wanted – New Zealand Herald

Peter Ellis' family welcome Supreme Court decision, say clearing name was all he wanted – New Zealand Herald

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Siblings Mark and Tania Ellis spoke to media outside the court in an emotional address. Photo / Mark Coote
Family of Peter Ellis, who made history today when his convictions were posthumously quashed, said they never doubted their brother’s innocence and his battle to clear his name.
Speaking to media in an emotional address outside the Supreme Court this afternoon, siblings Mark and Tania Ellis said they wished their brother, who died in 2019 from bladder cancer, was here to witness the highest court in the country clear his name.
“We’re just proud of him,” Mark said as he began to tear up. “We’re just proud of the person he was.”
Ellis was convicted of child sexual abuse and jailed in 1993 for 10 years. The former Christchurch creche carer always maintained his innocence.
Tania said her brother’s mana had been restored today, and the whānau had relied on the strength of one another through the three-decades-long case.
“That has got us through,” she said.
Asked what they’d do if their brother was alive, they said a hug would be the first priority.
“We’d cuddle him. We’d give him a big hug. We’re just pleased with the outcome finally,” Mark said.
Brother Mark said Ellis “stood strong” and maintained his innocence till the end, with his mother Lesley, who passed away a month ago, steadfastly by his side.
The family said today’s decision felt like an “anticlimax” after the long and often exhausting battle finally came to a historical close.
When the idea of compensation was raised, the family said it was never important to them and their battle was always about their brother.
All Ellis ever wanted was to have his name cleared, they said.
“That’s what he stuck to all his life right up to the end,” Mark said.
“It’s just a shame that he’s not here, and Mum, we shouldn’t forget about Mum … [we] never doubted … he was innocent and that was it.”
Tania thanked all those who had supported the family over the years.
“I’d just like to thank our whānau, friends, and work colleagues, [lawyer] Rob [Harrison] and the team who have put so much effort into it over the last 30 years.
“Much aroha to those who have been with us and thank you.”
Barry Doyle, family friend of the Ellis family for “60-odd” years, said when the allegations were made in 1991, “we knew it was rubbish”.
Doyle, 86, had known Ellis since he was a child and was friends with Ellis’ father John, who according to Doyle was too frail to attend today’s hearing.
The journey had been arduous for all involved, Doyle said.
“We have waited so long,” he said. “It’s been a terribly long and bitter journey, not just for us but for New Zealand.
“But today the court has said 30 years of injustice has been settled and not just me but hundreds of thousands, if not millions of New Zealanders will be thankful for today’s findings.”
His reaction in the courtroom today was, simply, “tears”.
He described Ellis as a lovely man with a tremendous sense of humour who had been a delightful child.
Around six family members were present at today’s decision.
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