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New information should see Sounds case reopened

21 November 2007

New information should see Sounds murder case reopened - Greens

New information about a ketch seen at the time of Ben Smart and Olivia Hope's disappearance casts enough doubt on the conviction of Scott Watson to warrant reopening the case, Green Party Justice Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos says.

David and Rachel Arlidge have provided new information about a ketch matching the description given by water taxi driver Guy Wallace of the boat where the pair were last seen alive. The owner of the ketch told the Arlidges that he had been at the Furneaux Lodge.

"There is widespread public concern about the safety of Scott Watson's conviction. This new information adds further weight to that concern," Nandor says.

"It is unfortunate that the Arlidges did not inform the police at the time of the investigation. However, the list of witnesses whose information was not taken suggests it may not have made any difference anyway. It appears that police investigating the disappearance simply discarded evidence that did not support their view that Scott Watson had killed the pair.

"Members of the public who did ring the police to report a ketch fitting the description were told that police were not pursuing that line of inquiry. I have spoken to people who were basically ignored by police because they were providing information that did not fit with the police theory."

The Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted (AIDWYC), an international organisation campaigning against unjust imprisonment, has concluded that Scott Watson is likely to be the victim of a miscarriage of justice and a recent book and documentary by Keith Hunter has brought the issue to public attention.

"Police have said that they will talk with the Arlidges, but given their past responses to this kind of evidence, I doubt very much that this will be taken any further.

"Only an independent body, such as a Criminal Appeal Review Office as recommended by Justice Thorpe in his report into miscarriages of justice, will do."

ENDS

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