Supreme Court should still hear Peter Ellis' appeal - legal expert

A legal expert says the Supreme Court should still hear Peter Ellis' appeal, even though he lost his battle with cancer on Wednesday.

The convicted child sex offender spent 26 years trying to clear his name, and supporters say his fight for justice hasn't died with him.

Dunedin author Lynley Hood spent seven years researching Peter Ellis' case.

She wrote a 672-page book called "A City Possessed" and believes Ellis is innocent

"I couldn't find a shred of evidence for Peter Ellis' guilt," she told Newshub.

Ellis was jailed in 1993 on 16 counts of sexual offending against children at the Christchurch Civic Creche

He maintained his innocence even after spending seven years in prison.

Ellis was granted leave to appeal to the Supreme Court Court in July, on the grounds of whether a miscarriage of justice occurred.

It's set down for November, and Hood wants to see it still go ahead. 

"There's just been so much disquiet for so long about the case that it won't go away until it's had a good look," she said.

The Ministry of Justice says it's ultimately the court's decision on whether the appeal will be heard.

"Legislation does not expressly govern what happens when an appellant in a criminal case dies before the appeal is heard or determined," the ministry says.

Criminal law expert Bill Hodge, of Auckland University, believes the Supreme Court should still hear the case.

"The Supreme Court should grasp the nettle," he told Newshub. "If we decide there was a miscarriage of justice, it's too late for Peter.

"He's served his sentence - we can't reverse the sentence, it's too late. But what he can do is the best we can as an appellate tribunal to make sure these things don't happen again."

The last chapter in Ellis' story still to be written after his death.


Contact Newshub with your story tips: