No pardon for Scott Watson

Scott Watson, the man convicted of murdering Olivia Hope and Ben Smart won’t be getting a pardon. He will be continuing to stop in jail.

A Ministry of Justice review of the Scott Watson murder case has found none of the new evidence he put forward was fresh or credible enough for a pardon.

Following the ministry’s advice, Governor-General Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae declined Watson’s application for exercise of the royal prerogative of mercy.

Watson was convicted of murdering Ben Smart and Olivia Hope who were last seen boarding a yacht in Endeavour Inlet, in the Marlborough Sounds, in the early hours January 1, 1998.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years.?

Following unsuccessful appeals to the Court of Appeal and the Privy Council claiming his innocence, Watson applied to the Governor-General for the pardon.

His application for a pardon led to the Ministry of Justice appointing Kristy McDonald, QC, to review the evidence.

In her report, Ms McDonald said nearly all of the grounds of Mr Watson’s application were not “fresh”, they had either already been considered by the courts or were available to be relied on, had Watson’s trial counsel chosen to do so.