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Peter Ellis Civic Crèche Podcast Wins Gold in New York

A podcast from Monsoon Pictures International and first broadcast on Radio New Zealand (RNZ) late last year, has won a coveted Gold Medal at the New York Festivals Radio Awards.

Conviction: The Christchurch Civic Crèche Case joined the BBC, Deutsche Welle (DW) and The Boston Globe in the Investigative Journalism Podcast category as gold medal winners.

Producer Alexander Behse (pronounced: Beeze) says the project was many years in the making and the team is thrilled to be recognised with this award.

“It was, and still is, a case that dominated the lives of so many for so long,” he says. “I felt it was important to make this podcast and want to thank everyone who contributed. We didn’t set out to make people’s minds up for them and we didn’t set out to present a particular position. It was important to present commentary and detail that perhaps people were not aware of. This was a polarising case and continues to be so.”

Conviction: The Christchurch Civic Crèche Case tells the story of Peter Ellis, who spent a decade in prison for abusing children at a daycare centre in the early 1990s. It’s a crime he always denied, even when it cost him release on parole; even when multiple government inquiries endorsed the conviction, even when creche children and their families insisted on his guilt, and even when, as he was dying of cancer, New Zealand’s Supreme Court chose to reconsider his case, delivering a verdict that would change legal history.

Within 72 hours of its release on RNZ last October Conviction became #1 in the NZ Apple Podcast charts and top 10 in Australia and New Zealand on Spotify.

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Christchurch broadcaster and former City Councillor, Ali Jones, who together with Mr Behse hosted Conviction, went to Christchurch Girls’ High School when it was located on Cranmer Square. Once the school relocated in 1986. The teachers staff room became the Civic Crèche. She also worked in the media when the case broke and went through the courts.

Jones says it is a huge honour to receive the New York award and a testament to the incredible work from the whole team.

“Alex particularly, has lived and breathed this project for more than half a decade and it is a credit to him,” she says. “I am sorry that Peter or his mum did not live to see Conviction completed. It’s important to acknowledge the crèche families, especially the children. Regardless of what you believe went on, this must have been hellish for all of them.”

Conviction has also taken out "Best Documentary or Factual Talk Feature" at the NZ Radio & Podcast Awards and has been nominated for "Best True Crime Podcast," which will be announced on June 6.

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