The Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry Lake Alice Child and Adolescent Unit public hearing continues today in Auckland. Please note the earlier than usual start time.

Witness evidence summaries are outlined below.

After a witness speaks, their full evidence along with footage of them speaking, will be available for download.

The hearing is being live-streamed on the Abuse in Care website. Please note the livestream is unavailable for one of today’s witnesses, however footage will be available following their appearance.

Hearing location: Level 2, 414 Khyber Pass Road, Newmarket, Auckland 1023.

9.30am approx.

Mr AA, survivor witness

Mr AA is a 60-year-old man of Irish descent and survivor of the Lake Alice Child and Adolescent Unit. Prior to admission to Lake Alice, he was physically abused in his family home, sexually abused by someone in his community, and spent time in Epuni Boys Home, Whatman Home, a Family Home and Kohitere Boys Home. He was sent to Lake Alice in 1975 and spent three months there. While at Lake Alice, he experienced psychological abuse, electroconvulsive therapy, and was given paraldehyde injections as punishment. After leaving Lake Alice, Mr AA was sent to Invercargill Borstal, and then spent most of his adult life in prison. Mr AA will also give evidence on the impacts on his children, and the redress processes with Grant Cameron and Sonja Cooper.

11.15am approx.

Charles Symes, survivor witness

Charles Symes is a 63-year-old man and a survivor of the Lake Alice Child and Adolescent Unit. He spent time in several state institutions growing up. These included Hokio, Epuni and Kohitere. He had two admissions to the Lake Alice Child and Adolescent Unit. His first admission was in 1973 for six weeks; the second was in 1974 for one year. He was diagnosed with “hysterical character disorder” and was referred to Lake Alice by Social Welfare. Mr Symes gives evidence about the abuse he suffered at Lake Alice and the lasting impacts that abuse has had on his life.

1.45pm approx.

Medical Council

Aleyna Hall is the Deputy Chief Executive of the Medical Council. David Dunbar is the Registrar of the Medical Council and has been employed as the Registrar since 2009. Ms Hall and Mr Dunbar will give evidence about how complaints are made, proceeded and dealt with by the Medical Council. Mr Dunbar will give evidence about the Medical Council’s records of the complaint received from a survivor in 1977 and the Medical Council’s decision to take no action against Dr Selwyn Leeks. Ms Hall and Mr Dunbar will also give evidence on the United Nations Committee Against Torture criticism of the Medical Council’s handling of a complaint.

3.30pm approx.

Victor Soeterik (livestream unavailable – a recording will be available following appearance)

Victor Soeterik is a registered clinical psychologist. He began work as a researcher and assistant clinical psychologist at Manawaroa in 1972 and began assisting at the Lake Alice Child and Adolescent Unit in 1975. He discusses his role in the unit, which included helping to carry out psychological testing, observing group and individual therapy, and contributing to staff training. Mr Soeterik gives evidence about group therapy sessions, faradic shock treatment and the use of electroconvulsive therapy at Lake Alice.  

Media enquiries: 027 298 2094;

About the Abuse in Care Inquiry

The Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry is investigating the abuse and neglect that happened to children, young people and vulnerable adults in care from 1950 and 1999.