Scott Watson interviewed

Debating convictions in high profile cases is a common pastime. Mark Lundy’s case had another burst recently and David Bain is a favourite (to debate).

One of the few that seems get almost universal support is Peter Ellis in his bizarre conviction in 1992.

Scott Watson’s conviction in 1999 for alleged murder over the Malborough Sounds disappearance of Ben Smart and Olivia Hope has been another controversial case.  The victiom’s bodies (presuming the are dead) have never been found.

Watson is still serving a life sentence with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years. He was granted approval to have an interview about his case with North and South journalist Mike White. This is in the latest edition of North and South, available from today (the old fashioned way, you need to but the magazine).

Watson says “I don’t know where Ben and Olivia are. I’ve never met them, never seen them. They definitely never came on my boat and I definitely didn’t murder them.”

North and South on Facebook link to Woman’s Weekly coverage (this is the first time I’ve linked to Womans Weekly):

In his first-ever interview, ‘Sounds murderer’ Scott Watson tells his story

After 18 years of maintaining his innocence, infamous Sounds murderer, Scott Watson has broken his silence for the first time in an interview with North & South magazine.

The man convicted for the deaths of Marlborough teenagers Ben Smart and Olivia Hope doesn’t hold back in sharing his side of the story throughout the 17-page feature. A story the authorities tried to prevent from happening.

“They’ve basically dumped me in jail for half my lifetime, it must be coming up, for something I haven’t done. It’s destroyed my family and my life,” says Watson.

Watson maintains it was a case of ‘wrong place, wrong time’, expressing his shock at finding himself the main suspect in the case which remains one of the most controversial in New Zealand’s history.

“I think it was because I had a criminal record and I was at Furneaux [Lodge – where the teenagers went missing] alone and I left alone. Basically I was an easy target for them. I was the easiest person that they could pick,” says Watson.

Mike White on his story:

The North & South story, written by Mike White, who has reported on the case since the very beginning, covers what happened that fateful night, Watson’s teenage crimes, his experience of the trial and his years in jail. It also offers a unique new insight into the perplexing case that divided New Zealand.

“You don’t judge a person on how you perceive them,” says White, who has also covered the Mark Lundy case in-depth.

“You judge them on what you know of the case and the evidence you can rely on. Into that, we can now add what Scott Watson has said. The only thing that I can say is that nothing he told me in Rolleston Prison [where Watson is incarcerated] has eased my enormous disquiet about this case and the many, many flaws and holes in it.

I have read a bit about the Watson case and there seems to be odd aspects to it and I can see how there are questions about the verdict.

But I haven’t looked at it in any depth and haven’t seen all the evidence as presented to the court. I have no informed opinion on whether Watson is guilty or innocent.

An appeal by Watson in 2000 was rejected by the New Zealand Court of Appeal, which found there was no new evidence to recommend a second trial.

In 2003 the Privy Council found no grounds for further appeal.

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17 Comments

  1. Klik Bate

     /  16th November 2015

    The Tribe Has Spoken.

    Reply
  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  16th November 2015

    I think we should have a “not proven” verdict that would allow police to press for a retrial if new evidence is obtained. I think that would make juries less concerned about failing to convict “the most likely” perpetrator.

    Reply
    • Agreed. Disquiet is a good way to describe my feelings about this prosecution. The police case contradicts too many eye-witnesses to be beyond reasonable doubt.

      Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  16th November 2015

      I also think juries would be less concerned about failing to convict if they are informed about the accused’s criminal past. They must fear acquitting only to find the guy has made a career of this criminal methodology.

      Reply
      • artcroft

         /  16th November 2015

        Still the cops should convict on the evidence provided on a particular crime. Not the evidence of a criminal history. A current allegation floating around is that it was Watson’s criminal history rather than evidence that led to him being accused. I am some what sympathetic to this idea.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  16th November 2015

          Of course that happens. The cops immediately focus on anyone with s record. But that is exactly why it should be put before the jury to judge if that is fair and supported by the evidence.

          Reply
        • Guest

           /  16th November 2015

          @artcroft…the police don’t convict and, in a case such as this, they don’t prosecute either. The Crown does and did…having reviewed the police case.

          Reply
  3. THUNDERBIRD 4

     /  16th November 2015

    I have watched this case over the years, and I must say there is (in my view) reasonable doubt. I thought it was interesting how the Police objected to Whites interview thru the Courts at one point – if nothing to hide then why object? There was also talk around a murder some years ago at Gt Barrier and the allegation that Watson was on the Island at the time and was a suspect. I don’t think to this day anyone has been held to account for that crime. Not that that makes it right to be convicted for one you did not do. Given Bain (whom I think is guilty, and a current case before the courts at present on those associated with the Bain acquittal certainly suggests the type of people they are), Lundy, and Ellis all got a retrial then it does seem only fair that he get afforded a retrial if that is what is needed.

    Reply
    • kittycatkin

       /  16th November 2015

      I agree about David Bain.People tend to forget that he wasn’t declared innocent, only not guilty in law-which is not the same thing.

      The jurors who fawned over him and hugged him were so obviously not unbiassed that their decision must have been worthless. I must admit that I would be totally biassed in Peter Ellis’s favour-but the Bain case was quite different and I wonder how those jurors were there in the first place.

      Which case are you referring to, Thunder ?

      Reply
      • THUNDERBIRD 4

         /  16th November 2015

        @kittycatkin – serious criminal charges have been laid against 2 people associated with Bain

        Reply
    • When you look at the biased media comment from the feminist movement during the lead up to the trial, and the evidence actually provided in the Court, e.g the allegation about the secret hideaway, etc; logic tells me there was a gross miscarriage of justice caused by hysterical feminist actions. and a conspiracy.

      Reply
  4. Mike C

     /  16th November 2015

    Mike White was interviewed by Paul Henry this morning, and I was amazed to find out just how many witnesses retracted or altered their original statements because of Police pressure.

    The whole investigation needs to be started again from scratch … because it is quite clear that the whole thing was totally botched by the Police twenty years ago.

    Reply
    • jamie

       /  16th November 2015

      Botched at best.

      Reply
    • kittycatkin

       /  16th November 2015

      Mike, I lost the post where you made the offer of the Goons tapes. Thank you, but I have a set of CDs of comedies from that era, kindly sold to me by my Uncle Lye (Lye Berry, who has all those books that he lets people borrow) and there are Goons on that-also Round the Horne.

      Reply
  5. kittycatkin

     /  16th November 2015

    A friend’s friends saw the boat in question and knew what it was, as they were long-time boaties (I wouldn’t have)

    I think that Scott Watson is a very unnice person, but there is enough doubt in my mind in his case (and David Tamihere’s) that, unpleasant people as they are, if they had been facing the death penalty and I had been on the jury, I couldn’t have sent them to the gallows. I believe that David Tamihere is probably mean enough to steal a car knowing that he was leaving someone stranded in the bush, but I am not 100% convinced that he’s a cold-blooded killer.

    But as for Peter Ellis…what a miscarriage of justice that was,If he was guilty, they all were. If they weren’t, he wasn’t. The charges were so stupid that I don’t know how anyone could have believed them-how could annyone push burning paper up someone’s bum ?

    Reply
    • Nelly Smickers

       /  16th November 2015

      ” – how could anyone push burning paper up someone’s bum ?”

      Sounds like you might need to get out a bit more kittycat 🙂

      Reply
  6. Brown

     /  16th November 2015

    One of the blokes I worked for (dead now) had a HC judge as a neighbour (allegedly). He said the judge, over a few beers probably, that any investigation run by a certain policeman always made him uncomfortable and inclined to doubt the reliability of the police work.

    Reply

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