Convention against Torture
and Other Cruel, Inhuman
or Degrading Treatment
23 January 2020
Committee against Torture
Decision adopted by the Committee under article 22 of the
Convention concerning communication No. 852/2017*, **
Paul Zentveld (represented by counsel Victor
Boyd from the Citizens Commission on Human
Rights New Zealand)
Date of complaint:
10 July 2017 (initial submission)
Decision taken pursuant to rule 115 of the
Committee’s rules of procedure, transmitted to
the State party on 20 November 2017 (not issued
in document form)
Date of adoption of decision:
4 December 2019
Abuse of children in a State hospital
Admissibility – ratione temporis; exhaustion of
Lack of prompt and impartial investigation; right
to an effective domestic remedy and redress
Articles of the Convention:
2, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14
The complainant is Paul Zentveld, a national of New Zealand, born in 1960. He
claims a violation of his rights under articles 2, 10, 11, 12 and 13 of the Convention. The
State party made a declaration pursuant to article 22 (1) of the Convention, effective from
10 December 1989. The complainant is represented by counsel.
Facts as presented by the complainant
The Child and Adolescent Unit at Lake Alice Hospital – a facility within the
government Department of Health – operated from 1972 to 1977 under psychiatrist Dr.
Selwyn Leeks. The complainant was first admitted to Lake Alice in 1974, when he was 13.
He was sent to the hospital by his mother, who considered that she had “lost control” over
him. He was diagnosed with a behavioural disorder. His treatment consisted of the
* Adopted by the Committee at its sixty-eighth session (11 November–6 December 2019).
** The following members of the Committee participated in the examination of the communication:
Essadia Belmir, Felice Gaer, Abdelwahab Hani, Claude Heller Rouassant, Jens Modvig, Ana Racu,
Diego Rodríguez-Pinzón, Sébastien Touzé and Bakhtiyar Tuzmukhamedov.