Waatea News Column: Can Maori cultural values save Pakeha justice?

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The decision this week to allow Māori tikanga to apply to the Supreme Court appeal in the case of Peter Ellis is an extraordinary moment for NZ legal history while also becoming the best hope to clear the name of a man whom many, myself included, believed was the victim of a terrible miscarriage of justice.

Ellis died battling cancer after serving 7 years in prison for sexual offending against 7 children at the Christchurch Creche in 1993.
The case has been criticised from many different angles.

The process of interviews with the children was found to be deeply deficient, the behaviour of the Police investigating was considered deeply inappropriate and the manner in which Christchurch was in the grip of a moral panic over satanic sex rituals helped create a landscape of suspicion and paranoia.

For those who may doubt Peter’s innocence, it’s important to note that the governor-general referred his case to the Court of Appeal. That’s very clear evidence of a system trying to hold an injustice to account.

That the Supreme Court is willing to trigger tikanga to try and find justice in a Pakeha dominated Judicial system is testament to how much Pakeha justice still has to learn from Māori.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

First published on Waatea News.

5 COMMENTS

  1. “an extraordinary moment for NZ legal history while also becoming the best hope to clear the name of a man whom many, myself included, believed was the victim of a terrible miscarriage of justice”

    Totally agree Martyn. Hopefully Peter’s name will be cleared, his life was destroyed.
    My only reservation is that the people who were directly responsible for this witch hunt will never be held to account, as involvement in it permeates to the top of Council, Police, Government at the time.
    If that ever happens which I doubt, then perhaps the full force of whatever shreds remain of a Pakeha dominated legal system can be used.

    • @Pedro – you are absolutely correct when you say that the people who were responsible for this witch hunt will never be held to account. Well said.

      While the primary drive of this must be to get justice for Peter who was so unjustly and badly treated by the system which, through the cops and the courts, demonised him, those cops and officials who did this to him should also be held to account for their dreadful actions. But……..as I am now starting to learn, they won’t be. The cops involved will probably have been promoted and they will justify what they did and those in the system who put blocks in Peter’s and his supporter’s way will simply ignore the question of accountability, justify their actions and continue against some other poor person who is being or has been treated badly.

      • Read the history of the case . The policeman running it had afairs with 2 of the mothers . ACC paid out $500000 in lump sums of$ 10000 for each claim even if they were not proved . The women who were arrested from the creche gota $170000 pay out in the employment court but their lives were ruined by association.
        The whole system was crooked driven by a hatred of homosexuality by a top policeman and a court not willing to admit mistakes.

  2. Our entire legal/ justice system needs a complete overhaul, a clean out of accumulated out-of-date laws and entrenched old school (old millennium) personnel, and new relevance for 21st Century Aotearoa. We’re at the dawn of a new era, and we need a new legal system to bring us through to a much better way of being.

    • Our legal system is indeed appalling, though mixing mysticism into it is a very slippery slope, one not conducive to ameliorating the issues.

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