Thursday, August 25, 2016

Scott Watson; New Zealand; Bulletin: 'Court overturns Scott Watson media access decision"..."The High Court has overturned a decision by the Department of Corrections to block a journalist from recording a meeting between convicted double murderer Scott Watson and Gerald Hope, the father of one of his victims." Radio New Zealand News.

"The High Court has overturned a decision by the Department of Corrections to block a journalist from recording a meeting between convicted double murderer Scott Watson and Gerald Hope, the father of one of his victims.Read the full decision here In 1999, Watson was convicted of killing Ben Smart and Olivia Hope. Last year, North and South journalist Mike White interviewed Watson in prison - the first time Watson had given a media interview since his arrest. Watson has always denied committing the murders. He wanted Mr White to report on his first-ever meeting with Mr Hope, something Mr Hope also wanted to happen. Mr Hope has said he wants to meet with Watson and question him about the murders. Corrections had said Mr White could take part in the meeting as a facilitator but not as a journalist, and Watson had sought a judicial review of that decision.
In the decision today, Justice Mallon quashed Corrections' decision, and directed it to reconsider. The judge said the department did not seem to have considered the practicalities of granting permission for Mr Hope to visit Watson, and for Mr White to be present but not in his capacity as a journalist. She said Corrections failed to show justification for interfering with freedom of expression. Justice Mallon said Mr White had the trust of both parties, and had their consent to attend as a journalist."

See Wikipedia entry at the link below; Disappearance of Smart and Hope; "Ben Smart (aged 21) and Olivia Hope (aged 17) were last seen in the early hours of New Year's Day, 1 January 1998, by water taxi driver Guy Wallace, who transported them to a moored yacht in Endeavour Inlet off Furneaux Lodge, located in the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand. The close friends had been celebrating New Year's Eve at the lodge with other partygoers. After leaving the party and discovering that the boat they had arrived on, Tamarack, was overcrowded, they decided to look for alternative accommodation for the night. They transferred from Tamarack to a Furneaux Lodge water taxi driven by Wallace, intending to go back ashore.[4]Aboard the small water taxi was a man who would later become crucial to the police investigation.[5] According to Wallace and another couple who also rode in the water taxi, the man offered Ben and Olivia a place to stay aboard what he said was his vessel, which Wallace described as a two-masted ketch. The pair accepted the offer and all three boarded the boat at a time estimated between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. It was the last time the pair were seen. Police speculated that they had been murdered, but no bodies were found despite extensive searching in the months that followed. To this day, Smart and Hope remain missing. Police investigations began on 2 January 1998, after the pair's parents reported them missing. The case was assigned the name Operation TAM by police. In the following months, police came to believe that the unidentified man was Scott Watson, although his yacht was not a two-masted ketch. Police charged Watson with murder and after an 11-week trial he was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years.[6] Watson still protests his innocence; however after fruitless efforts, all avenues of appeal have failed..........Appeals and controversies: The defence appealed Watson’s conviction, and the case went to the Court of Appeal in April and May 2000. Three Appeal Court judges heard submissions from both the prosecution and the defence, but decided there was no new evidence to recommend a second trial.[11] They disregarded the defence’s submission that the “two trip” theory had appeared “out of the blue” late in the trial.[11] Questions have been raised about the manner of the police investigation, notably by Mike Kalaugher, who in 2001 published a book which was critical of methods allegedly used by police to obtain Watson's conviction, and by Keith Hunter, in a 2003 television documentary and a 2006 book. In November 2000, after the Court of Appeal hearing, a witness who testified at his trial contacted the Weekend Herald to say his evidence given under oath was "nothing more than an act". He said he was being threatened by gang members in prison; he was coming up for parole and was put under pressure by police to testify and "I agreed on the basis that my life was getting threatened". The witness changed his story at least twice more which led Watson's lawyers to conclude he was completely unreliable.[12] A 2010 report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority cleared police of allegations by Keith Hunter and Chris Watson. It found the police investigation had fallen short of best practice in areas which "had no significant bearing on the outcome of the investigation". No evidence was found that would support Hunter's other claims.[13] Watson has unsuccessfully applied for a royal pardon.[14] [15] In June 2015 Watson successfully challenged at court the Corrections Department's refusal to allow him to be interviewed about his case by North and South journalist Mike White.[16] Also in June 2015 the first hearing of the Parole Board took place. Watson was denied parole on the basis of two failed drug tests and an unfavourable psychological report that attested Watson "a very high risk" of committing violent acts if he was released from prison."