TV Review: Doubt – The Scott Watson Case



There will be angry phone calls between the Police and TVNZ tonight in the wake of the incredibly damning Doubt – The Scott Watson Case Documentary.

It is a rare event for TVNZ to do anything as serious as challenge real power, and in NZ, there isn’t more real power than the NZ Police force. This excellent documentary tore the Police case against Scott Watson to pieces. The manner in which the NZ Police manipulated evidence, manipulated witnesses and ignored any evidence that didn’t connect Scott Watson to the disappearance of Ben Smart and Olivia Hope was never explained by the subservient mainstream media at the time so much of this will be new to most NZers.

The use of prison narks used to nail Scott Watson should disgust most NZers, but it probably won’t.

The only reason the NZ police get away with what they do is because the sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind let them. Kiwis don’t hate crime as much as they love punishing criminals so the idea that an innocent person has been locked up won’t annoy NZers as much as having to let a person out of jail in the first place. This is the tiny minded bitter nation that we really are.

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The alpha male culture of the NZ Police refuse point blank to acknowledge they are ever wrong and most white people in this country  have a colonial guilt knowing they’ve benefitted from stolen Maori land so turn a blind eye when the Police over step the mark.

Come on NZ – you’re only supposed to turn a blind eye when the person being wrongly jailed is brown – Scott Watson is white!

This is what our media should be doing rather than focusing on the Real Housewives of Auckland.

Incredibly brave broadcasting from TVNZ, whoever commissioned this will soon be fired once Police rage hits TVNZs management.

Welcome to NZ.


  1. Well said Martyn.
    I haven’t watched the “Real” Housewives of Auckland. Such programs bore me to tears.Watching a bunch of rich bitches quibbling about one minor thing after another in their selfish and sterile little world.
    Scott Watson is reality. What happened to him and the way the NZ Police ONLY focused on him from the word Go showed how narrow minded the NZ Police are and perhaps still are. There were sightings of a ketch as far away as Auckland and yet when this was reported to the NZ Police the Police didn’t want to know. In their narrow minded little world they had their man firmly in their sights. Scott Watson was already guilty as sin in their minds.
    It’s interesting to note that the Swedish couple disappearance happened during a National government. The Bain killings happened during a National government. And the Sounds disappearance happened during a National government. And all three men charged with murder on each account went to jail to serve time for crimes they didn’t commit.
    Sometimes I get the impression there has been political influence in the NZ Police when it comes to such events as these.

    • Interesting comment Justme. Add Tena Pora to the list. It does look like National governments just want crimes to go away because it “looks bad” for their administrations and they don’t care whether people are innocent or not as long as they get a quick result and it’s no longer making headline news. We have all certainly seen this under John key’s government. And there are a number of instances where it appears that the police place themselves above our laws, and have no fears of reprisals for any wrong doing either. We must never forget the illegal raid on Dotcom.

      • Yep, he was convicted while a National government was in office.
        AND he remained in Jail through 9 years of a Labour government.
        Why didn’t aunty Helen let him out?
        He is now free under a National government but it’s still John Key’s fault he went to jail in the first place.
        Shame on you John Key.

        • No, it was the fault of the Bolger National government. Tena Pora was found guilty at a second trial in 2000. it was only due to the tireless work of those who knew he was innocent and set up by the police that real justice was finally served. NZ police has form in setting people up.

          BTW Helen Clark is not your aunty. Grow up.

        • Patrick – a question for you.

          Are you a right-leaning journalist, who wants to have John Key’s baby when that medical procedure is made possible?

          Does your last name rhyme with tower?

    • With a party keen on cutting budgets in office, perhaps it’s convenient to reach a rash conclusion on a case than proceed with a lengthy but thorough investigation.

      • “thorough investigation” my lily white a**e…what the Doubt doco showed was how one-sided that investigation was. What a coherent and comprehensive narrative ‘Doubt’ presented. For the first time I found it easy to follow the details of the case. Prior to this the only version was the police/media one, of disjointed and incomplete ‘facts’.

    • This is more important than politics. there are plenty of examples of injustice and the watch of both National and Labour. Energy is best spent getting to the truth, especially for both the Smart and Hope families.

  2. The police ignored the evidence of the experienced sailor who delivered Smart and Hope to the boat….He said categorically he did NOT deliver them to Scott Watson’s tiny boat!….it was a much bigger boat

    This is not just police incompetence it is ignoring the evidence of the only the crucial credible witness

    ….which makes one wonder if they were protecting someone ie the owner of the real boat

    • But that doesn’t mean they stayed on that boat. IIRC The boats were tied together so they could have hopped across to another. (I didn’t see the program)

      • i don’t think and experienced sailor would get it wrong

        …i didn’t see the tv programme but I have heard him on the radio and read reports

        ….he sounded very credible indeed and incredulous that the police stonewalled him

      • There were two other witnesses left on the water taxis after Ben, Olivia and the third party got off. This was not just the taxi driver’s report. The boat the got onto was not rafted up as Blade was reported to be on NY’s Eve, and as it was when Scott returned to Blade early 1 Jan. Scott’s return to a rafted Blade was witnessed by occupants of the two other yachts. So if Blade was used in the murders, it must have been moved without anyone’s knowledge.

  3. Having watched the documentary last night, there is definitely something very strange about this whole case. When you spend a lot of time on the water you know the difference between a ketch and a sloop, also the size of vessels, why were the sightings of the ketch not followed up on especially when a blonde haired woman was seen on the vessel.

    Numerous people sighted a ketch around the Marlborough Sounds and Mapua at the time, to date the ketch has never been identified?

  4. Yes, the NZ Police have much to answer for. Just last week, a young woman was detained for no reason, strip-searched with two male officers present-which even the police are not allowed to do. IF a strip-search is necessary on a female, it is to be conducted by a female. I was once knew the wife of a policeman, and she told a group of us that sometimes she was called upon to strip-search females.
    As for the young lady above, she remained with the police until a close friend found her, and tore a strip of the cops, as the young lady has a very weak heart and must avoid stress, and told them that if anything happened to her, then they would come down on the cops like a ton of bricks. Half an hour later, she was released into her friend’s care.
    Just had a thought. I did not see the doco, but did anyone look into Hope & Smart’s backgrounds? Maybe they wanted to flee the country.

  5. Bravo TVNZ and well done Martyn for stirring the pot by calling us names for not demanding the truth. But what is the truth? We are drowning in lies about absolutely everything. Where do we start? Perhaps we could start with the title of NZ Inc. Rip that title apart to examine every last atom that makes up the name. Maybe we might find that the agenda for governance, the police, the courts, judges and lawyers, and the end justifies the means legal system is all wound up tightly within the title of NZ Inc. Just maybe. But then, we all accept that title is okay too, don’t we?

  6. I’ve known since 1965 that police are deceitful bullies and that ‘justice’ is dispensed very selectively. Since then I have been frequently reminded.

  7. Don’t let your irrational hatred of authority blind you to the fact that Watson is guilty as all hell.

    He has an extensive criminal record

    He was on a short list of suspects in a previous murder case

    Several witnesses gave evidence of multiple incidents of sexually aggressive, abusive and harassing behaviour against women on the night in question and the day before.

    There were fingernail scratch marks on the inside of the boat hatch.

    He repainted the boat after the incident.

    He carried out an extremely detailed cleaning of the boat, including cleaning the inside of cassette tape boxes.

    Cut seemingly random sections of foam out of squabs.

    DNA of hair found on blanket was Olivia’s.

    Logical Conclusion: He’s a nutter and he did it.

    • You have over done your normally idiotic comments to imbecilic levels. Anyone who watched the documentary last night has seen answers to the questions you raise although it explains why your view of life is so different to normal people as you must live in your own world where truth & evidence is something to be ignored.

      • yes people I know who are not anti police at all …have seen the tv programme and are amazed and incredulous….the police really need to take another look at this or their reputation is in tatters

    • The documentary ‘Doubt’ addresses all of these points quite easily to show that they are not as presented in the police fact, all are either fictional ‘clues’ or distorted ones. Your assertions carry no weight now.

    • Very obvious Andrew you like me were sucked in by the cops feeding of the mainstream media at the time.

      I for one never knew there were multiple sightings of the ketch in nthe area in the days after, nor did I know Guy Wallace did not return Scot Watson to his boat on the night as everyone was led to believe by the cops.

      This whole case was a stitch up from start to finish regardless of his past.

    • Apparently Watson cleaned his boat (only about 30% of surfaces – as testified by forensic expert) well BEFORE New Year’s eve. Fingernail scratches made by Sister Sandy’s kids – Police KNEW this. Watson planned to paint boat long before New Year and anyway he painted the colour of the boat the police WERE LOOKING FOR. the hair has been pretty much discounted now, as forensics admit cross contamination. Watson might be a loner and aggressive – like quite a few folks that ill fated night. BUT – if you look at the WHOLE case with an open mind – how the evidence was collected, how some was ignored – what the Jury was NOT told – you may even have a wee doubt.

    • Could not agree more Andrew. Some on here cannot see the woods for the trees, or choose not to for for some reason.

  8. Ian Wishart is no longer credible on the Scott Watson case. He has personal vendettas against many people in the Free Scott Watson group, and has a vested financial interest in making sure people think Scott is guilty, (the premise of his last two books on the case).

    Like Donald Trump who claims to be professional in his field, author Ian Wishart spent the night of his book release engaging in petty and personal arguments with people on social media and, just minutes apart, threatened multiple people with lawsuits for simply, and justifiably, questioning his motives and integrity (after discovering Wishart had joined as a member of a support group for Scott despite writing a book against him).

    It was interesting watching Wishart squirm on his Facebook page last night as that eye opening (for those who haven’t been involved with the FSW campaign so far) documentary was broadcast to the public. Ian lead his readers and the wider public to believe he’d cracked the case in his last two books, and has done anything but. It’s sad to see some of the degrading things Ian has said on his Facebook page in regards to Scott – things totally unprofessional and uncalled for from a supposedly professional and high profile author. His personal stoush and attacks on another kiwi author, Keith Hunter, also brings the conduct of Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump to mind.

    The webinar Wishart plans to host regarding the case, conveniently scheduled to take place after TVNZ’s documentary aired, is a deperate attempt at damage control.

    It’s insulting to kiwis who want to know that their police are conducting thorough investigations, to know that their legal system isn’t itself above the law, that Ian Wishart would state that the funding of this important docu-drama was a waste of tax payers money. It was very much in the tax payers interest – after all, we’re paying to keep a wrongly convicted man fed and housed in prison when he could be out working and contributing to the tax burden. Then of course there’s the fact that the person/s responsible for Ben and Olivia’s fate is still out there roaming about.

    Last night Ian Wishart set up his own Facebook group ‘Don’t Free Scott Watson’, and it appears to have backfired as at time of writing most people commenting in that group appear to be backing Scott.

    Ian Wishart on this case;
    Vested financial interest
    Petty and making it personal
    Unprofessional and desperate
    Questionable motives

    • Ian Wishart has NO credibility. He has repeatedly shown himself to be a self-serving liar who attempts to manipulate the public. His so-called investigation into global warming and so-called proof it was not happening was amongst the worst trash I have ever seen.

    • Excellent comment Aaron…where’s the ‘Like’ button? I too have found Ian Wishart’s continual assertions about the doco being a waster of taxpayer money annoying, but mostly irrelevant. As you say, his approach is mostly abusive. On the night before the doco screening, on the social media site, his only answer to comments critical of him was to abuse the commentator, or to say ‘tune into the webinar’ without giving any details as to why they should or arguments as to where they were wrong. In the end I noticed that he took most of the comments down, as they were overwhelmingly in disagreement with him.

    • I too have found Ian Wishart’s continual assertions about the doco being a waster of taxpayer money annoying, but mostly irrelevant. As you say, his approach is mostly abusive. On the night before the doco screening, on the social media site, his only answer to comments critical of him was to abuse the commentator, or to say ‘tune into the webinar’ without giving any details as to why they should or arguments as to where they were wrong. In the end I noticed that he took the posting down, as the comments were overwhelmingly in disagreement with him.

  9. Scott Watson asked his sister to help give his boat a spring clean a few days after New Years eve. That I believe is the possible smoking gun here.

    1) If that was the first time he had ever asked her to do this, then I would surmise Scott Watson wanted her DNA/fingerprints through the boat to cover over Olivia’s.

    2) If she had done this before, springcleaned the boat, at his request – then it is not a ‘smoking gun’.

    • a spring clean = a smoking gun ?! (joke?)

      ( call that detective work? IQ 80?… who doesn’t spring clean their house or boat occasionally?…it is purely coincidental )

      as opposed to investigating police ignoring a very credible witness , an experienced sailor, who water taxied/ delivered Hope and Smart to a boat which he says was definitely NOT Scott Watson’s…and he gave a description of the boat which the stupid police detective ignored ( they also ignored other sightings of descriptions fitting the pair on a very different boat)

      why?….are the police stupid?…the police need to re-investigate this with a different crew if they want any credibility left!

  10. Unfortunately some New Zealanders entertain people like Ian Wishart and inspector Rob Hope.
    Wishart and Hope are the same.
    They promote their extreme view’s to financially benefit from the misery of others.
    Their living is gained by manipulating the venerable members of the public to follow them like sheep.
    If we keep allowing this to happen NZ will never ever achieve a “Justice System”.
    For the record here are some truths.
    1/ There was a sloop matching the description. My parents were some of a good number of people who also saw it. The police were not very interested. Scott’s lawyer was interested.
    2/ Ben and Olivia were not imprisoned on Scott’s boat that morning. This was 100% impossible
    At the time Mum & Dad were moored within meter’s of Scott’s boat. They are both ultra light sleepers (& always sober).
    3/ Obviously my parents gave evidence at the trial.
    4/ I was also summoned by the prosecution as a character witness at the trial because I used to work with Chris & Scott Watson
    My parents and I personally witnessed members of Operation Tam attempt to blatantly manipulate the truth.
    As far as we are concerned there was absolutely no evidence of the crime that Scott was ultimately convicted of.
    But I saw plenty of evidence of a totally unfair legal system.
    Nothing at all about justice.
    This game of charades did absolutely nothing to assist the ultimate quest for truth and justice.

    • Thanks for your honest first hand comments – the police and prosecution seemed to have convinced a jury and most of NZ that their twisted version of events was real. Now at last more and more of the truth is coming out. Makes me wonder why the police are never held accountable for perverting the course of justice by bullying or ignoring witnesses and then making the suspect fit the crime any way they can. I thought the doco on Sunday did a good job of fitting the pieces together, it seems to have touched a nerve with a lot of folks…….

    • I can’t get past the scenario of how Scott would have been able to keep two people so quiet. The two boats rafted onside occupants were woken by Scott when he wanted to party a bit longer, was this meant to be some insane alibi move by Scott? The adjoining boat occupants did not hear any other noises, no voices, no thumps, no scuffles, I think one said they heard an outboard motor receding after Scott wanted to keep partying.

      Ian Wishart stated Scott strangled Ben in his sleep, I know they portray Ben as laid back, but geeze! I don’t think anyone is so laid back they would sleep through strangulation, a person would kick out, something, and you know, that would get the attention of the other person (Olivia) who might scream, kind of likely.

      There is the claim Scott just sailed off while they were sleeping, I think that’s far fetched too, does he have some spidey sense knowledge that they are very heavy sleepers, not to be awakened by moving through the bay?

      The other glaring obvious problem is that wouldn’t Scott just assume he would be easily identified? He had been larking it up since midday, some of it with people who know him and is boat. He is in a water taxi with 5 others (Guy, Hayden, Sarah, Amelia and B/F?) And eventually get’s dropped at his boat.

      But a stranger from a strange land so to speak, noone knows him, his boat is moored 250-300 metres out, he is probably not alone on the boat, it now becomes feasible.

      I just read that when Amelia and B/F? first gave statements they said there was noone else in the water taxi, no mystery man, no Hayden, no Sarah – Yikes!

  11. This case has all the hallmarks of a wrongful conviction. Anyone who has read ‘An Innocent’ by John Grisham will recognize them.

    1. Pick a known local ‘baddie’ who has some form and is known to the local cops.
    2. Discard all contrary evidence and put all your investigation resources into this one soft target.
    3. Manipulate the media by dropping selected morsels of so called ‘evidence’ connecting the soft target to the crime and redirecting media away from any contrary possibilities…classic trial by media which is almost impossible to overcome with any jury that has been bombarded with lopsided coverage.
    4. Employ bully boy tactics on witnesses to either recant or change their original reports, or ignore them altogether
    5. Employ jail house snitches who testify in return for favorable treatment… A real classic tactic employed by so called ‘investigators’ worldwide and proven in most cases to be straight out lies.
    6 When challenged role out the same old response…the jury convicted him so we got it right. Never admit to any doubt. If any of your own team break ranks then portray to the media that those persons have a personal axe to grind and shouldn’t be trusted.

  12. I agree that the TVNZ documentary highlighted many doubts about the conviction of Scott Watson.
    One thing puzzles me however. All those people who were interviewed about the ketch and spoke glowingly about what a striking vessel it was…and the fact that we have a description of the “scruffy” ketch owner…… come absolutely nobody who knew the owner of the ketch has not come forward with any information? It is a fair assumption that many people who were nowhere near the Sounds at the time of the disappearance of Ben and Olivia would have immediately recognised the ketch, striking as it was…..and come forward with compelling information that the Police could not possibly have ignored. Mybe someone who knew the ketch owner will come forward now.

    • The ketch had not been seen in the sounds before, by the locals, and hasn’t been seen since, which is one of the reasons it was noticed. There are rumours and theories about who it may have belonged to. It would have headed to international waters very easily as the police weren’t looking for it.

      Have often wondered if, due to Maritime law, the NZ Police have no jurisdiction in international waters, therefore following that line of inquiry would make them look powerless and weak, it would explain why they didn’t want to go there.

  13. Police say it doesn’t matter how Scott got from Blade, which was rafted alongside two other boats (witnessed as fact by police), back to shore early AM 1 Jan, to then hop in the water taxis with Ben and Olivia. However, the water taxis dropped Ben and Olivia off with a disputed third party at his boat, also disputed to be a ketch, but police say it was in fact Blade. So that means Scott moved Blade to a unoccupied swing mooring or anchored remotely, then got back to shore, in a drunk state without anyone else noticing. Then Scott gambled on the fact he could get onto the same water taxi with Ben and Olivia, and that Olivia would then bail from the over crowed charter boat she was planning to sleep on, which would then enable Scott to offer his own vessel for the night. REALLY!
    Scott is reported to have stumbled all over the rafted boats when he first went back to Blade after midnight. Was that an act? Was he really sober enough to craft this double murder in this way? I do not see anything beyond reasonable doubt here.

  14. I am concerned about:
    1. The apparent selective discarding of witness evidence provided to police, such as descriptions of the traditional ketch, provided by qualified people. Sailors know yachts. Whereas, new faces can be forgotten. But the police hold onto accounts from witnesses who did not know Scott, but reported to have seen someone meeting his description.

    2. Police say it was not important how Scott Watson returned to shore early on 1 Jan. What is important to police, is their belief he was a passenger with Ben & Olivia on the water taxis, which took them to his yacht, a sloop. Yet other taxis passengers and the skipper, report the yacht to be twin masted, high sided, stable enough to board from the side, swing moored or anchored (not rafted). This information is discarded.

    3. Police confirm Scott’s yacht, Blade, rafted up to two other yachts in day light on New Yr’s Eve. Witnesses heard him return to his boat, apparently drunk early 1 Jan, when he made a nuisance of himself, prior to retiring to his berth.

    4. So for police accounts in 2 above to be true, Blade would need to be moved to a solo anchor location, when he was drunk, and quietly as to avoid disturbing others. The moorings were all occupied, that’s why Blade rafted up on NY’s Eve. If he anchored by himself, somehow he got the chain rode overboard without a sound. Then Scott needed to get back to shore, and onto the same taxis as Ben and Olivia. This effort would be wasted if Olivia’s charter boat had free space for her and Ben to stay. But it was over crowded, leaving them to find alternate bunks. Now, in steps the disputed person on the water taxis, who offered a bunk. Described by the water taxis owner as the unknown rough character in the bar, not Scott Wilson. Police discard this information, along with everything relating to a large ketch, and replace it with Scott and Blade. Why?

  15. Its a hunch to me and pretty obvious that there were some well known influential people involved in this crime and that is why it has never come to light. Watson knows if he squeaks information he is a dead man. There have been mysterious deaths in the Sounds of people who had “knowledge” of what went on since the case and families involved are far from happy with their loss and the police handling of them.

    This case will never see the light – typical situation of a law for the underdog and a law for the privileged.There is usually one activity where big shit happens – big time drug dealings.

  16. Thanks Daily Blog for hosting this, and great to read some intelligent stuff on this case.
    I’ve been on a jury and the pressure to get a unanimous verdict is always there. Jurys get very little chance to question the evidence or how it was arrived at or how the witnesses were bullied or cajoled into suiting the police version of things. One of the main issues is that Detective Pope (brought in to lead the case) refused to admit Watson was a suspect – thereby open slather in the media – which would normally be off limits under the sub judice law. Also Watson and many other ‘witnesses’ can be questioned WITHOUT a lawyer present which opens the way for bullying and lying by the inquisitor. I think Scott’s sister Sandy, his dad Chris, their neighbour and poor old guy Wallace were amazing – they made the police look like a bunch of lying bullies. To think that if the police had followed up sightings of the ketch and sent a chopper to look, Ben and Olivia could still be here. Free Watson and give Pope 17 years non – parole.

      • Why Dave?

        I note that Scott Watson has been described as a psychopath by the police.

        1 in 10 people are psychopaths, look up the term. This does not mean they kill or hurt people.

        • We think this version of Justice looks bad.

          You might want to have a look at the Family Court sometime there are children doing life sentences every day with no fathers because the poor buggers had to give up or they have suffered so much that their health has deteriorated.

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