When Prosecutors Lie - The Scott Watson Trial

When Prosecutors Lie

It was the prosecution case that the movements of all boats in the Furneaux Lodge area on the morning of the 1st of January 1998 were accounted for with the exception of Scott Watson's yacht Blade. All the while knowing that there was ample evidence to account for Blade's departure time as being between 6.30am and 7.00am. But what "is" unaccounted for is a sighting of a forty foot white yacht with a stripe on it that was seen leaving the inlet at around 5.00am.


Crown prosecutor Crutchley was, or should have been, well aware that when she opened the case for the prosecution on the basis that ‘All boats at Furneaux had been identified’, she was, in fact, telling a lie.



“The police began to find out all the names of all the people who had been at Furneaux Lodge on New Years eve, and who had arrived by boat…… These investigations were to follow up every such boat and their occupants” 

Nocola Crutchley (Opening for the crown)


The crown opened the Watson trial on the basis that every vessel at or near Furneaux lodge had been identified and eliminated from the inquiry by police.


They closed the trial in the same manner:  


“Now I won’t go into all of the evidence by which the crown says other boats at Furneaux can be eliminated. But one of the core circumstantial planks of the crown case is the elimination of all the other boats that can be identified as being there.”                                   

“……..and we have the yachts in the purple or blue sector and the only one not accounted for is Mr Watson. Now of course, I suppose you could say he is accounted for, he said he left at 7.00 – 6.30” 

“……so when did he leave.”                                           

Paul Davison QC (Closing for the crown) 



Over one hundred and fifty witnesses were called to prove this point.  


While researching Mr Davison’s question, “When did he leave?” the following statement was found deep within the police file. This witness was not called to give evidence.     


30314 / JS / NADINE CAMERON / LC8773 / 300198






0930 hrs                      Phone Nadine CAMERON in Christchurch re her rowing back in at 6.00am on New Year’s day at Furneaux. 


When I got back in at 6.15-6.30am a wee yacht was going out of the bay.  I can’t remember too much about it or what it looked like but it was chugging away.  There were other people up on a yacht having coffee just to the right of us that may have seen it.


Detective 8773


And two days later:


11390 / ST / NADINE CAMERON / JGD391 / 040298  

2.10 pm
Chch Police  

Nadine Margaret CAMERON states:  

………………. I came back to our boat and sat on the back of MISTRESS and had a coffee.

We had swung round with the tide and I was facing north west across the bay.

I remember a yacht starting its motor, and seeing a yacht come past at about 6.30 am-6.45 am.

It came from somewhere in the main body of yachts moored in the bay and passed on the north side of a boat, which from the photo of the bay [witness is shown morning photo which does not show UNICORN or BLADE], was TROOPER.

I think the boat had a black and white terrier on it which was barking like made.  (TROOPER)

There were 3 people on TROOPER, a woman and two guys, older type 30-40’s.

TROOPER left about 7.00 am.

We left round about 8.00 am.  We went back to Blackwood Bay.

As we went out of the inlet, we passed the ‘Cougarline’, a taxi going into the inlet, also the ‘Endeavour’, another water taxi.

Between Blumine Island and Cherry Bay, we passed TROOPER, on motor heading toward Picton.

We went back to Blackwood Bay and stayed there until the 2nd and left there to come back to Chch with Nathan’s Dad.

Constable Gallate has shown me two “identikit” sketches.  Neither sketch rings any bells for me. 

(Signed) N M CAMERON 

Statement taken and signature witnessed by

(Signed) J N Gallate

Const D391


3.30 pm


The two statements above would mean little to the average reader unless one was aware that the owner of the vessel ‘Unicorn’ also had a fox terrier dog (Jazz) with which he was inseparable and also that the vessel ‘Trooper’ had only two people aboard and did not leave the area until after 8:00 am, even then not leaving the confines of Endeavour Inlet.


If the trial evidence of each of the boat owners at Furneaux Lodge is checked for departure time, [and this includes every vessel if the crown are to be believed] then no “wee yacht” left the lodge area between 6:30- 6:45 am.


The above is the statement of one person. She could be mistaken in her times or the events she describes. The Crown Solicitor requested the police to check this out on June 8th 1999.


14338 / JS / VICKI EASTGATE / BM6952 / 080699




At the request of the Crown Solicitor carrying out enquiries as directed with boat owner and occupant witnesses.


1250 hours       Phone enquiry with:    


   025 456839  

  EASTGATE is the co-owner of a yacht Unicorn.

She confirms that while at Fumeaux they had their dog with them which is a fox terrier. 

On the morning of 01/01/98 she said that their party were up drinking coffee at the back of the boat between about 6.30 to 7.30 am.  

 Between those times she noticed a ski boat leave and she had seen that earlier beside the fishing boats. She thought that she saw another yacht leave over that period but couldn't describe it any further.  

B McLACHLAN Detective 6952  


There are now two people who saw this non-existent “wee yacht” leaving the Furneaux lodge area.  



20029 / ST / SCOTT WATSON / JMD684 / 120198  

Monday 12 January 1998
Picton Police Station
Interview Room
12.45 hr 

Scott WATSON states:  

 After waking up, checked the oil in the motor, and left.  It was about half past 6, 7 o’clock when I left.  It was dawn anyway.  It was daylight.  I am guessing it was that time.  It was early, but it was a nice day.

The neighbours weren’t up and about.  I didn’t see anyone else.

I untied my boat and left.


There are now two people and the owner of such a yacht describing a “wee yacht” leaving the area between 6:30 – 7:00 am. This causes a major problem for the crown case. If this vessel is Blade, then what vessel is this seen leaving at about 5:00 am:


20218 / ST / JEREMY BROWN / SID741 /140198  

Christchurch Central Police Station
Hereford Street
14th January 1998
3.35 pm 

Jeremy Robert BROWN states:  

I saw a yacht which was heading away from the Furneaux area.

This boat was definitely white with a stripe along the side.

I don’t know what colour the stripe was.

I couldn’t see anyone on board.

I saw a light, I’m not sure how many, at the top of the mast or masts.

I don’t know what colour the light was.

I would say the boat was about 40 foot long, I could see the outline quite well.

It had safety rails on it as well.


Crown prosecutor Crutchley was, or should have been, well aware that when she opened the case for the prosecution on the basis that ‘All boats at Furneaux had been identified’, she was, in fact, telling a lie.


“No need to look over the horizon for a mystery ketch. Never was one. Is a fiction,”

Davison QC  


Complaint to Wellington District Law Society


Law Society and Crutchley's reply


Comments on Crutchley's reply


Law Society's answer