16 Nov 2015

Scott Watson speaks after 17 years of silence

9:09 am on 16 November 2015

Scott Watson is still angry at the way he says he was treated by police in the Olivia Hope and Ben Smart murder investigation, says the first journalist to talk to him in 17 years.

Scott Watson in High Court.

Scott Watson in High Court. Photo: Pool / John Kirk-Anderson

Watson is in Rolleston Prison for the 1998 murders of the pair, who disappeared after spending New Years Eve celebrating at Furneaux Lodge in the Malbourough Sounds. Their bodies were never found.

North and South journalist Mike White fought a long legal battle for the right to interview Watson in jail.

He told Morning Report today that Watson maintained he was not the person who committed the crimes, and felt the police pursued him despite there being no evidence.

"He feels he was picked out by the police from all the people who were at Furneaux Lodge that night. He feels he was focused on very early, and the police pursued him despite there being no evidence and made a case against him, and convinced many of the witnesses to give evidence against him and perhaps twist some of the evidence.

"He feels very upset that he is still in jail despite so much of that evidence that was presented at his trial now being questioned and undermined, yet the authorities are very reluctant to do anything about them. He's run out of appeals and he is hoping that by bringing his case to public light, that perhaps there will be some interest from someone involved in the case who might be brave enough to come forward and say that something went wrong or that they now regret giving evidence."

Mr White said Watson has not previously spoken out because he did not want to interfere with his appeals process.

"He has trusted in the judicial system that his appeals would be successful and that hasn't worked. He has also trusted in his lawyers - they have always said it was not a good idea to speak out - and it's not been until recent years that his current lawyer has suggested the idea of speaking publicly for the first time."

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