Scott Watson, Gerald Hope meeting to go ahead

1:52 pm on 1 November 2016

Gerald Hope and and his daughter's convicted killer, Scott Watson, can now meet along with journalist Mike White, the Department of Corrections has agreed.

Ben Smart and Olivia Hope, left, and Scott Watson.

Scott Watson, right, is convicted of killing Ben Smart and Olivia Hope. Photo: SUPPLIED / Pool / John Kirk-Anderson

Watson is serving 19 years in prison for killing Olivia, 17, and Ben Smart, 21, on New Year's Day in the Marlborough Sounds in 1998.

Their bodies were never found

Both Mr Hope and Mr Watson have long sought a meeting and both wanted North and South journalist Mike White to attend.

In August the High Court quashed an earlier decision by the Corrections Department which barred White from the meeting.

In a statement, North and South said White was well known to both parties, had extensive knowledge of the case, and was able to act as an independent observer and recorder of the meeting.

It said it hoped the meeting would take place some time over the coming months.

Watson has always claimed he is innocent of the murders, and Mr Hope has said their disappearance remained "a mystery".

Watson's father Chris Watson hoped the planned meeting would help dispel the view that his son was a monster.

He said he hoped Mr Hope would learn more about the case.

"It would be good to have Gerald Hope on our side, I think a meeting with Scott is a good thing, hopefully Gerald will find, unlike the way he has been painted over the time, hasn't got horns and a pointed tail."

Mr Watson said it was hard for his son to convince anyone of anything about the crime, because he did not know anything about it, and he hoped Mr Hope would appreciate that.

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