Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


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"I'm really disappointed in the fact that this week's documentary is regurgitating the same tired, out-of-date arguments about the Scott Watson case, by arguing Watson's trial verdict was a miscarriage of justice.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


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Why Welfare Reform Has No Champions In Parliament

Ever since Victorian times, the unemployed have been a problem for those more fortunate, wealthy and powerful. Down the ages, society has been torn between providing for them as victims of misfortune, or dealing to them as the shiftless agents of their own condition. Either way, the poor are commonly regarded as The Other – as a group of outsiders gathered pitifully, reproachfully, or (depending on your POV) threateningly at the gates of polite society.... More>>


National: "Todd Muller Announces Shape Of Next Government"

National Party Leader Todd Muller has announced the line-up of the next Government. “New Zealand is facing perhaps the toughest time that almost anyone alive can remember. “We are borrowing tens of billions of dollars to get us through this crisis. There ... More>>


Lockdown Rules: Timeline For Moving To Level 1 Needed

The BusinessNZ Network is calling for more clarity about the conditions under which businesses can move to Covid level 1. The network is concerned about large numbers of businesses that are at risk of closure if restrictions continue at the current ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On National’s Day Of Reckoning

Congratulations. You are one of the 55 members of the National caucus being called together tomorrow to choose who will lead you to either (a) catastrophic or (b) honourable defeat on September 19, thereby saving some (but not all) of the jobs currently on the line. Good luck. Your decision process starts NOW... More>>


Budget 2020: Jobs Budget To Get Economy Moving Again

Investments to both save and create jobs in Budget 2020 mean unemployment can be back to pre COVID-19 levels within two years and could see the economy growing again as early as next year. More>>


Covid-19 Response: Law Setting Up Legal Framework For Covid-19 Alert Level 2 Passes

The law establishing a legal framework for the response to Covid-19 has passed its final reading and will become law in time for the move to Alert Level 2 tonight.
This is a bespoke Act designed specifically to stop the spread of COVID-19... More>>


ACT: Parliament Quits MP Cut Pay Debate To Go Home Early

“In an outrageous move, Parliament has today passed voluntary MP pay cuts and avoided any debate over whether to make them compulsory and transparent”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.... More>>


Trans-Tasman Bubble: PMs Jacinda And Morrison Announce Plans

Australia and New Zealand are committed to introducing a trans-Tasman COVID-safe travel zone as soon as it is safe to do so, Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern and Prime Minister the Hon Scott Morrison MP have announced... More>>


Government: New Zealand Joins Global Search For COVID-19 Vaccine

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods, and Health Minister David Clark today announced a COVID-19 vaccine strategy, which will enable New Zealand scientists to contribute to global research efforts ... More>>


The Dig: Steady State Economics: We’ve Got Some (systems) Thinking To Do

In this time of impending economic and ecological crises, we urgently need to aim for a sustainable or ‘steady state’ economy. In order to get there, we will need to adopt a ‘systems-thinking’ outlook taking into account the interconnections of our complex world.

In short, we’ve got some systems thinking to do... More>>


Election 2020: Parties Get Into gear

The Green Party is pleased to reveal its candidate list for the upcoming election. With a mix of familiar faces and fresh new talent, this exceptional group of candidates are ready to lead the Greens back into Government. Using the most democratic list ... More>>


Insight Into Regenerative Agriculture In New Zealand

There is a fast growing movement in New Zealand that has been happening out in paddocks, fields, gardens and hill country across the nation. It is a movement that holds the promise to reshape our productive land use industries towards systems that work with the natural environment to regenerate the land. The movement is that of regenerative agriculture. More>>


Covid-19: Tracer App Released To Support Contact Tracing

The Ministry of Health has today formally released the NZ COVID Tracer app to support contact tracing in New Zealand. Kiwis who download the app will create a digital diary of the places they visit by scanning QR codes displayed at the entrances to ... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Dodgy Politics Of Easing Level 3

As countries around the world tentatively emerge from lockdown, a lot of political noise is being generated by politically-driven arguments that (a) the safeguards need to be lifted faster and (b) the lockdown itself was an over-reaction likely to leave lasting economic damage in its wake... More>>


Govt: Concern At Introduction Of National Security Legislation For Hong Kong
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says the New Zealand Government has reacted with concern at the introduction of legislation in China’s National People’s Congress relating to national security in Hong Kong... More>>






InfoPages News Channels