Thursday, August 2, 2018

Book review series: (Part 21); Scott Watson: New Zealand: Ben Smart and Olivia Hope disappeared after boarding a boat in a New Zealand harbour in 1998. Scott Watson was convicted of their murder. Watson exhausted his legal processes years ago: But this is just one of those cases that won't go away. Two books on the case reach opposite conclusions. Keith Hunter calls it a serious injustice...Ian Wishart says the police got it right. Read on!

 Round bookshelf in public library

PUBLISHERS NOTE: Ben Smart and Olivia Hope disappeared after boarding a boat in a New Zealand harbour in 1998. Scott Watson was convicted of their murder. Watson exhausted his legal processes years ago: But this is just one of those cases that won't go away. Two  books on the case reach opposite conclusions. Keith Hunter calls it  a serious injustice. Ian Wishart says the police got it right. Read on:

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.


BOOK: (A serious injustice):  "Trial by Trickery - Scott Watson, the Sounds Murders and the Game of Law by Keith Hunter," published by 4-Hunter Productions is reviewed by Dr. Robert Moles on his NetK site:

GIST: "This book argues that the case of Scott Watson, who was convicted of the murder of Ben Smart and Olivia Hope after they disappeared after boarding a boat in a New Zealand harbour in 1998 just does not stack up. I have to agree. This is a book which is a masterpiece of critical and scholarly analysis. The reasoning is methodical and rigorous. The argument is sustained and compelling. It argues that the conviction is based upon little more than tunnel vision and the desire to establish a case against a suspect who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It reminds me of the case of Guy Paul Morin in Canada. The Judicial Inquiry there established that the investigators were unfair and willing to create a case based upon bare suspicion and little else, whilst ignoring many factors which might have shown that they had the wrong suspect. Hunter's account of the "investigation" prosecution and appeal of Scott Watson demonstrates that they system has comprehensively failed at every level. In truth, there is not even a respectable case to be made out against Watson. Its not a question of saying that the jury must have believed certain witnesses instead of others. The court was simply misinformed and the jury were misled. As we have seen with the Keogh case in Australia, it is not difficult for the people involved with these cases to overcomplex things and then assert that those who raise concerns do not understand the complexities of the case or of the law. Obfuscation is the last resort of the exhausted mind. According to Hunter's account of the Watson case, obfuscation has been used on many occasions by many people who ought to have known better; from the investigation, through the prosecution and the trial and even in the appeal. The trouble with cases like Watson's is that people who are involved in barracking for the status quo, presumably hope that the agitators for a review will go away, and they can go on to ever greater and better things. However, it is in the nature of things that skilled and able people like Hunter will not just go away. The amount of time and effort which he has already invested in this project must be vast. Both the book and the DVD are finely produced and presented. Together they provide a compelling argument to show that the witnesses and the evidence were manipulated to provide a case to the casual observer which might result in a conviction. I have no doubt after reading the book and watching the video, that this will turn out to be one of the major international classics of miscarriages of justice. If Ben and Olivia were killed then there is not the slightest evidence to suggest that Scott Watson was involved in it. Indeed, there is a great deal of evidence to show that whoever did it it was not Scott Watson. The descriptions of a possible perpetrator do not match. The descriptions of the vessel do not match. The timings are woefully inconsistent with possible guilt. The issues put forward in evidence are manifestly consistent with the innocence of Scott Watson. Hunter provides compelling evidence to show that the judge had joined the prosecution in helping to patch up a case against Watson which was threadbare. As in most cases of this sort, the blame lies not with the jury, for they must rely upon the "evidence" which is given in court. However, if they are not told the truth, or if they are given incomplete information, then they will be bound to come to the wrong result, as they did here. Both the book and the DVD are superbly produced and presented, and Keith Hunter is to be commended for unravelling the complexities and explaining them in a manner which is as clear as it is compelling. I join with Hunter in stating that cases such as this show that a properly established Criminal Review Commission is urgently required. New Zealand offficials must act swiftly to correct this serious injustice if its reputation in the international arena is not to be sullied for a long time to come."

PUBLISHING INFORMATION: "The book is available at $NZ 29-99 and the DVD Murder on the Blade? at $NZ 23.99"

The entire review can be read at:


STORY: (The police  got it right): 'Elementary' by  Ian Wishart;  New Zealand Herald; January 29, 2016.

HEADING: "New book claims: Forget the denials, Scott Watson definitely killed Olivia Hope and Ben Smart, but cops did contort evidence," 

SUB-HEADING:  "Exclusive - Former cop backs author’s case with tale of confession to Sounds murders."

Read the Wikipedia entry at the link below: "In November 2017, a second application for a Royal Pardon was filed on Watson's behalf by an Auckland man and ex-convict, who had taken an interest in the Watson case.[22] The application concerned the reliability of the evidence relating to two blonde hairs found on a blanket on Watson's boat. It included a report by forensic scientist, Sean Doyle, which questioned whether the hairs were really Hope's, and criticised the way these hair samples were handled at the time of the original trial. The blonde hairs, believed to be Hope's, were the only physical evidence linking the couple to Watson."

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;