The case of ex Christchurch creche worker Peter Ellis is, I believe, a shameful episode in the nation's judicial history.
Ellis has just been granted leave for yet another appeal, this time to the Supreme Court.
But it seems to me it's time this lingering, hideous miscarriage of justice was immediately just kicked to touch once and for all. In my opinion the legal system's handling of this case to date is de facto tainted, or else it would have been thrown out - or at least quashed - years ago. I would argue it simply can't be trusted with another chance to slither out from facing its previous dereliction in this matter on some arcane point of appellate law.
Sometimes webs of circumstances entangle themselves with distorted evidence and pedantic court proceedings to produce a Gordian knot of rank injustice that nothing less than the heft of an Alexandrian sword will resolve.
It's time for Justice Minister Little to exhibit the same decisiveness he displayed in initiating a Pike River re-entry, and recommend the Governor-General grant Ellis a Royal Pardon forthwith.
The Teina Pora case notwithstanding (a case the courts eventually did resolve, albeit after a tortuous 20-year struggle), to my mind the most infamous example of relatively recent times is the infamous Arthur Allan Thomas prosecution.
Our judicial system – aided and abetted by outright police duplicity - allowed a similar web of deceit, fantasy and arcane judicial conventions to tie up the courts, mislead juries, and deprive Thomas of his liberty for nine long years.
In a rare meritorious act, it finally took then prime minister Muldoon to initiate a Royal Pardon for Thomas, at one stroke slashing the similarly intractable Gordian knot allowed to aggregate over the previous years.
In effect it was a public declaration of what most had come to realise – that the whole case was an absolute crock which had warped into a self-perpetuating, vindictive, mutually back-covering monster.
The Ellis case, involving alleged fantastical abuse of infants, occurred in the context of a hysterical wave of specious charges coincidentally just previously laid in several places abroad.
The general phenomenon is well documented - suffice to say in my view the notorious Salem witch trials would occupy one end of the spectrum and witches' britches fashion fads the other.
In the Ellis case, it seems to me that what almost certainly started out as an innocent remark by one of the infants, and misinterpreted by a parent, was by a long process of extended "interviews" with the children extrapolated into a mass orgy of satanic ritual tortures equal to the imaginations of an Hieronymus Bosch or a Dante.
Tellingly, no evidence of either physical harm or the elaborate contraptions required to undertake such bizarre practices was ever found.
Four of Ellis's co-workers were also charged. When their charges were rightly eventually withdrawn, by implication it collapsed the whole case, in my view. Yet it was allowed to proceed.
Tragically, in my view, a perfect storm of parental hysteria, flawed interviews and judicial costiveness eventually engulfed Ellis. It sentenced him to 10 years' gaol, survived subsequent appeals, and effectively poisoned the remainder of his life. Given Ellis now has serious health issues, the remainder may not have much longer to run.
Ellis has strenuously maintained his innocence throughout. Given his condition, he's even more resolute his name be cleared while he is still alive. Even the concept of "innocence" is perhaps redundant in Ellis's case. I believe the overwhelming probability is that no such crime ever existed in the first place to which notions of culpability could apply.
Peter Ellis became a scapegoat to the judicial system's ongoing pretence that this travesty was somehow evidentially "sound". It destroyed his life, but it's still not too late to save his name. As per the Thomas case, my belief is it behoves Government to exercise its prerogative, override a gross judicial failure, and recommend a Royal Pardon with utmost urgency.