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Child sex abuse conviction overturned for daycare teacher who died 3 years ago

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New Zealand’s Supreme Court on Friday took the unusual step of overturning a man’s convictions even though he died three years ago.

The court found there had been a substantial miscarriage of justice after Peter Ellis was convicted of sexually abusing children at the daycare center where he worked as a teacher more than 30 years ago.

Usually appeals end once a complainant dies. But in this case, the court found it was in the interests of justice for the appeal to continue even after Ellis died from cancer in 2019 at age 61.

When Ellis was first put on trial in 1993, it was against a global backdrop of concern about satanic ritual abuse. The case against him relied on the recollections of very young children, and many questioned its merits from the outset.

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