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LGBTQI News Roundup – 14th October 2022

New Zealand Supreme Court quashes child sex abuse conviction in landmark ruling


New Zealand’s supreme court has quashed the convictions of Peter Ellis, a Christchurch creche worker convicted of child sexual abuse in 1993 in a highly controversial case that included allegations of large-scale ritual abuse.

On Friday, the court found a “substantial miscarriage of justice” had occurred. It is the first time in New Zealand’s history that a conviction has been quashed posthumously – Ellis died from cancer in late 2019.

Until now, a person’s legal proceedings have died along with them, but Ellis’s appeal continued after his lawyers argued that under tikanga (Māori customary law), a person’s mana (honour) is as important in death as in life. The majority of judges ruled that the public interest factors of the case meant it was in the interests of justice to allow the appeal to go ahead.

Ellis spent seven years in jail after being convicted in a 1993 jury trial on 16 counts of sexual offending against seven children who had attended the Christchurch Civic childcare centre, where he had been a teacher. The investigation began shortly after a series of similar trials investigating allegations of satanic ritual abuse at childcare centres in the US, in an era now known as the “satanic panic”.  

Some of the children’s allegations against Ellis and other childcare workers were extreme, including references to cages attached to the ceiling of the creche and large-scale rituals. The case against Ellis relied on the recollections of very young children, and many questioned its merits from the outset. Some believed the fact he was gay worked against him. While one of the children later recanted their allegations, others maintained they had been abused by Ellis for years after the trial. The court noted that the judges “were conscious of the very high level of stress and public scrutiny already suffered by the complainants and their whānau [family] over such a long period”.


US Supreme Court spurns bid to keep same-sex marriage trial video sealed 

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday turned away a bid by gay-marriage opponents to block the public release of video of a watershed 2010 trial in California that overturned a voter-approved ban on gay nuptials in America’s most populous state.

The justices declined to hear the appeal of a lower court’s 2021 ruling in favor of news media companies including public radio and TV broadcaster KQED and advocates of gay marriage who sought release of video of the proceedings made for the trial judge. Proponents of the 2008 ballot initiative, called Proposition 8, had argued the video should remain sealed based on the trial judge’s pledge at the time to keep it private. Christopher Dusseault, a lawyer who fought to unseal the video, said the Supreme Court’s order cleared the way “for public release of this important historical record.” 

“While the trial took place more than 12 years ago, the lessons that it teaches about equality and justice could not be more vital today,” added Dusseault, of the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. The two-week trial in federal court in San Francisco, presided over by U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, involved a lawsuit brought by two gay couples who challenged Proposition 8 to ban same-sex marriage in California, which passed with the support of 52% of voters.




Iker Casillas says Twitter account was hacked when it posted that he was gay


Football legend Iker Casillas, one of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of the sport, says his Twitter account had been hacked when it published a post announcing he was gay. “Cuenta hackeada. Por suerte todo en orden. Disculpas a todos mis followers. Y por supuesto, mas disculpas a la comunidad LGTB,” the retired Spaniard wrote on Twitter early on Monday morning, Australian time.

Translation: “Hacked account. Luckily everything in order. Apologies to all my followers. And of course, more apologies to the LGBT community.” A few hours earlier, in a post that was later deleted, Casillas’ account tweeted: “Espero que me respeten: soy gay.” In English: “I hope you respect me: I am gay.”

The post swiftly racked up hundreds of thousands of likes and retweets before it disappeared more than an hour later. Carles Puyol, another legendary Spanish footballer who was a teammate of Casillas at the national level (and rival at domestic level) for many years, was among those reacting.

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