Free Scott Watson. Falsely convicted of murdering Ben Smart and Olivia Hope

Scott Watson

Convicted for a crime that he could not possibly have committed!

"Instead of investigating Police start with the answer and collect evidence to match it." Paul Davison QC

In 1999 Scott Watson was convicted of the murders of Ben Smart and Olivia Hope following a New Years eve party at Furneaux Lodge in the Marlborough Sounds (New Zealand). Eye witnesses describe the person last seen with Ben and Olivia in the early hours of New Years day as a long haired "Mystery Man' with several days beard growth. The boat that they were last seen boarding was described by witnesses as a 40ft wooden ketch (two masted yacht) with high freeboard. When Scott was photographed earlier in the evening before going ashore, he had short hair and was obviously clean shaven. His yacht "Blade' is a 26ft steel sloop (single masted yacht) with very low freeboard.

These basic facts were swept under the carpet by the authorities by means of a multi-million dollar smear campaign. This included the use of secret witnesses who were rewarded in kind for their not so secret testimonies.

Innocent Man in a Living Hell!!!!


This photo of Scott was taken onboard the Mina Cornelia at about 9.30pm before going ashore for the evening. At least half an hour after the mystery man is said to have been ashore drinking in the bar. He is plainly clean shaven and his hair is very short. When shown this photo at the depositions hearing, Guy Wallace said that this was not the man that he delivered to the "mystery ketch" with Ben and Olivia. Some of the people pictured stated in evidence that Scott returned to his boat alone at around 3.30am.

Montage B

It was with this photographic montage that after four months of trying police seemingly managed to trick a Scott Watson identification out of Guy Wallace. He picked two men from below as standing out more than the others. Can you pick which two they were?

Operation Tam 

The biggest and most expensive stuff up in New Zealand criminal history!

A Clarification of DNA Evidence Given at Scott Watson's Trial

Case Summary

For a summary of the case against Scott Watson and the reasons many consider his conviction to be a miscarriage of justice:

Essay in defence of Scott Watson

Watch Doubt


Prosecute at Any Cost

The Mystery Skull

About the time of Scott Watson's trial a female skull was found in the sea off Canterbury. To date the owner of this skull has not been located.

Mystery Skull

Cleaning Evidence in the Scott Watson Case

To learn how evidence of normal cleaning and painting was presented as unusual behavior at the Scott Watson trial.

Mystery Ketch

This is an artists impression of the "mystery ketch" based on descriptions given by some of the witnesses who saw it. The original identikit drawn by an artist commissioned by the police and released very early in the investigation is misleading in some respects but was based on available witness descriptions of the vessel at the time.. There is a more detailed description on the

mystery ketch page

When Prosecutors Lie

It was the crowns contention that every boat that was in the Furneaux Lodge area had been identified

CLICK HERE and find that this was not true

 Video Links

To read to complaints laid concerning Detective Rob Pope and his role in ensuring Scott Watsons Wrongful Conviction

Click Here

Trial by Trickery

Scott Watson, the Sounds Murders and the Game of Law

On New Year"s Eve 1997, young holiday-makers Ben Smart and Olivia Hope dissapeared from a party at a seaside resort, last seen boarding a mystery yacht with a mystery man. Five months later 25 year old Scott Watson was arrested and later convicted of their murders. He is now serving a life sentence.

But is Watson guilty? Keith Hunter is one of the many who think not and in 2003 he produced an award-winning documentary that showed why. Now he goes further, revealing how the jury"s verdict was aquired. He lays bare the misinformation and manipulations of advocacy in the adversarial system of law, turning the tables on Scott Watson"s accusers to make them and the system itself the accused. Hunter asks"Is this justice, New Zealand style?"

Click Here to learn more and buy the book

Click Here to preview "Murder on the Blade" DVD



To read about the way police manipulated Scott's statements to paint him as a liar.


Guy Wallace stated in evidence at the trial that the only thing "Blade" had in common with the "mystery ketch" was that it floated. Scott is pictured in the foreground.

The Two Trip Theory

At the end of a three month trial and in the dying minutes of the prosecutions summing up to the jury, the police case against Scott Watson changed dramatically.

The Two Trip Theory

The Question Still Remains:

Why was Scott Watson not eliminated as a suspect early in the enquiry when there was no evidence of his involvement?

Prosecute at Any Cost

The New Zealand Appeal Court

to read an interesting article written by Robert Lithgow that was published in the New Zealand Law Journal

The New Zealand Appeal Court

NZ Parole Board Decisions

Decision 2015

Decision 2016

Review Request 2016

Review Decision 2017

Decision 2020

Decision 2021

Parole Board Decisions

Petition to The Governor General of New Zealand for Royal Prerogative of Mercy

For the latest updates


The Mystery Man

This is a portrait of "The Mystery Man" drawn by an artist after interviewing Guy Wallace. Both Guy Wallace who served the man at the bar and later took him to a ketch, and the bar manager Roz McNeilly who also served this man at the bar, say the portrait is a good recognisable likeness of the man. The man was about 174cm (5ft 9in) tall, wiry build, dark hair, weather-beaten, aged about 32 at the time (now aged about 36). Guy states that during the creation of the original police identikit the sketch machine broke down halfway through and that sketch is wrong on several points e.g. hair too short and straight, more facial hair needed (stubble since added) and wrong eyes. He also served this man drinks earlier in the evening whilst working behind the bar. He claims the "mystery man" was drinking in the bar as early as 8.00 to 9.00pm.

Original Wallace Identikit (Created by police)

Original Barstaff Identikit (Created by police)

For more detail on the identification methods used by the police in this case go to the Witness Identification page

Witness Identification

Click Here: to understand the methods used to trick witnesses into give false identifications of Scott

Secret Witnesses

To read about the secret witnesses and the way they were used to influence the trial:

Click Here

to understand the methods used to trick witnesses into give false identifications of Scott

Witness confesses:

I lied about Scott Watson

EXCLUSIVE - A star secret witness who told the Marlborough Sounds double murder trial that Scott Watson confessed to the killings now says his evidence was a lie.

To read more


… ‘jailhouse informant’ is a term that conveniently captures a number of factors that are highly relevant to the need for caution. These include the facts that the jailhouse informant is already in the power of the state, is looking to better his or her situation in a jailhouse environment where bargaining power is otherwise hard to come by, and will often have a history of criminality.

The Real Scott Watson

Click here to read the reviews

I'm very pleased to announce on behalf of Mike Kalaugher and Jenny Kalaugher that their book "The Marlborough Mystery" is now available on line at this link:

Click Here

Ben and Olivia, What Really Happened?

A full account of the trial is given in the book: "Ben and Olivia, What Really Happened?" by Jason Rhodes and Ian Wishart. This book is no longer in print but may be obtained at your local library or a second hand book shop.

Scott Watson Fact

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"Free Scott Watson. Falsely convicted of murdering Ben Smart and Olivia Hope