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New Watson doco a waste of a million taxpayer dollars


25 September 2016

AUCKLAND: The author of three books on the Scott Watson case says a new docudrama on the mystery is a waste of one million dollars of taxpayer funding.

Ian Wishart co-wrote the first book on Ben & Olivia back in 1999, and followed up with the highly controversial "Elementary" series this year which concluded Watson was definitely guilty of the two murders.

Wishart says the documentary appears to have been an excuse to spend taxpayer cash, because ultimately it is focusing on the trial process and doesn't answer the biggest question of all: is there strong evidence that Watson is, in fact, the killer?

Wishart says there is hard evidence, and he's so disappointed in the failure of "Doubt: The Scott Watson Case", that he's presenting a free webinar the night after the documentary screens to show where it went wrong.

"I'm really disappointed in the fact that this week's documentary is regurgitating the same tired, out-of-date arguments about the Scott Watson case, by arguing Watson's trial verdict was a miscarriage of justice.

"I doubt that there's any credible commentator on this case who doesn't think the Crown was lucky to get a conviction based on the line of evidence they ran at trial in 1999. All of us agree on that.

"However, the game has changed and the question of whether Watson suffered a technical miscarriage is now utterly irrelevant. The only real issue is did Watson do it, and the answer is yes.

"Up until Mike White's interview with Watson for North & South last year, there was a credible argument that the conviction was unsafe and Watson may well have been innocent. I myself defended Watson right up until last November, but then I got hold of both the police prosecution file and Watson's defence file, and I discovered Watson had lied massively.

"Not only that, but three star Crown witnesses, Zappa and his two children, had lied like flatfish to provide Scott Watson with a fake alibi.

"The only reason Watson's trial verdict was unsafe is because police tried to pin a prosecution on him that had to incorporate Watson's false alibi, given that Zappa and his kids were witnesses for the prosecution. The police went through contortions to try and prove a sequence of events that had never happened.

"Watson didn't go to see Zappa at Erie Bay on the morning of 1 January as he claims, when Ben and Olivia disappeared. Instead he sailed directly to Picton, repainting his boat on the fly, where he was seen in the act of painting his boat and positively identified by charter boat skipper Ted Walsh," says Wishart.

Walsh's witness statement to police is explosive, but has never been reported by any New Zealand media outlet. It is published in the book Elementary 2.0 where Walsh confirms:

"I have just viewed a photo of two boats one red/brown before 1 January 1998 and one blue after 1 January 1998. This was definitely not the boat, which I have referred to in this statement as the ‘chinese junk’.

"I can’t recall seeing the boat in this photo in Endeavour Inlet or at Furneaux during New Year’s Eve. However on the 01.01.98 I was with Eyvonne in Waikawa Bay around 2.30 pm. This timing is dependent on when I fuelled up. I used a Caltex fuel card which presently is with Eyvonne. What I am about to tell you I have discussed this with Eyvonne and this is my scenario. I believe it was Waikawa Bay because I was going too slow, normally the Bill Fisher would be travelling with speed.

"I saw the boat in that photo being painted from the red/brown to the blue. The colours in the photo are the ones I saw, the front half of the cabin was red and the back was blue. The guy painting had no shirt on, medium build, wiry, untidy longish/bulky curly black hair around 30-35 years. He wore shorts (unknown colour). He had something in his hand but seemed to have more paint on his hands than on the boat. It struck me that it was odd on New Year’s Day to be painting the boat. It was a good day and he should have been sailing.

"It is definitely the boat in the photo. I have never seen the owner of this boat or even the yacht itself prior to this sighting. Because of the news coverage I know it’s owned by a guy WATSON.

"Once again this was a passing thing and I only took note of it because Eyvonne commented. I haven’t seen this yacht since. I have been shown two sketches of a male, the person painting the boat was similar to the larger sketch. The person painting the boat may have had slightly long hair.

"I have read this and it is true and correct. (Signed) E C Walsh"

Ian Wishart describes Walsh's evidence as "damning".

"Watson lied, and TV producers have sucked off the public tit to make documentaries that treat Watson's false statements as the gospel truth. But there's no getting around the damning facts: Watson went to Picton, not Erie Bay. everything he told police and Mike White was a fabrication. The court trial was built around that fabrication. Of course it was a miscarriage, but it was a miscarriage of Watson's own making.

"It doesn't matter if the documentary makers have interviewed witnesses who've never spoken before. The police files showed the memories of witnesses were already screwed by the time of the trial, only 18 months after the murders. Their memories had degenerated into la-la land by the time of Keith Hunter's "Murder On The Blade" documentary in 2003, five years after the event. Now we are going to be subject to new interviews conducted 18 years after the murders. I'm sure it will be entertaining television but it won't be informative. All the key witness statements are reprinted in full in Elementary 2.0, so readers can see how stories have changed."

Wishart says he does agree with documentary presenter and law lecturer Chris Gallavin on one thing: regardless of a technical miscarriage of justice, Watson will never get a retrial and nor does he deserve one.

"The law says that where a party to a court case, criminal or civil, withholds relevant true evidence despite knowing about it, they cannot later try to gain an advantage based on their tactical decision. Where a party has perverted the course of justice they cannot reap the benefit of that down the track. In short, Watson's arrangement with Zappa to plant a false alibi and swear to it on oath forced the police to choose a line of evidence that fitted Watson's alibi. That's why the case became so convoluted."

Wishart is inviting anyone interested in seeing for themselves the "damning" evidence against Scott Watson, to register for a free online webinar he's presenting on 3 October at 8pm.

"I will take apart the 'Doubt' documentary, and I will show you how Watson is guilty," he says.

Spaces for the free webinar can be obtained here:


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