C. J. Watson
P. O. Box 336
23 January 2009
Assistant Commissioner Gavin Jones
Police National Headquarters
PO Box 3017
Thank you for supplying a copy of your report as requested during our meeting of 9 December 2008.
Having now had time to study the report I would like to point out a few discrepancies that I find in both it and in D I Pinkham’s investigation report. I realise that you will already have submitted your report to the IPCA and will therefore copy this letter to Bob Grinstead for his information.
I will attempt to discuss your analysis of the various complaints in the order of my complaint.
1. Both you and Det. Insp. Pinkham attribute the statement,
8.2 At about 5.30 am Mahoney woke and noticed that the "Blade" had gone[CW1]. He also noticed that Watson had left his fender, which had been placed between the two yachts, behind.
to Warwick Eastgate. That being the case there should be a record of some reference, at some time, by Eastgate, to the presence of this fender. There appears to be none. If error there was, surely it is more likely that an ‘8’ has been recorded as a ‘5’. The statement is misleading no matter which person it is attributed to, either by design or accident.
2. “Scott Watson did not claim in any recorded statement or job sheet that he was clean-shaven.” Your investigation and conclusion relies on the memory of Fitzgerald and two undisclosed documents, one of them dated nearly a month after the affidavit, which are not statements or jobsheets. Fitzgerald did file a jobsheet purporting to detail his discussion with Watson (Doc 40483) and there is no mention in it of facial hair. As for Fitzgerald’s notebook entries, there is a good likelihood of copies of the entries for that day being held by Scott’s lawyers I will look for them the next time I am in Wellington. It should also be mentioned that Fitzgerald was the officer who’s voice recorder chanced to fail at the arrest of Scott Watson on 15 June 1998, forcing him (Fitzgerald) to ‘verbal’ the arrest (Doc 13501).
3. Again your analysis descends into the swampy ground of belief. My ‘belief’ is that the term “the third person”, or “mystery man”, is a reference to the person aboard the Naiad with Wallace, Dyer, Morresey, Hope and Goddard. To include more than these five only serves to muddy the ‘identification’ waters. This is what occurred in the police investigation and it seems to have occurred in your own mind when you imply that because police had formed the view that the “third person” was Scott Watson, then any description of Scott Watson, was in effect, a description of the “third person”, or “mystery man”. You also give credence to witness statements from people as young as fifteen years in various states of intoxication while failing to include the photographic evidence available to police at the time.
4. In your analysis of complaint four you again prefer the statements of ‘witnesses’ to the series of photographic evidence that was available. Your conclusion accuses me of selectively relying on the photographic evidence. I assure you that I have always been aware of the “he cleaned himself up” theory and statements, and of the character and foibles of the people who made them. I am also aware of the nature of people’s memory and the way it can be manipulated and am willing to bet that none of these ‘witnesses’ wrote their own ‘statements’. I choose to rely on evidence that is not dependent on the way the wind is blowing and suggest that this would be good practice for police to follow as well.
5. Partly upheld? Should not an affidavit to the High Court say what it means?
6. One would expect police to subject any information to basic analysis. To present an isolated piece of information (photographer’s timing) as fact without this analysis borders on foolishness at best. You illustrate the tendency yourself when you hold up my ‘mistaken’ reference to document 20112 and then go on to quote it as to a time of departure of 6:30am (the earliest of four), neglecting the time estimates of the other three people aboard Unicorn who all provide later departure times, or the person in a nearby vessel who saw Unicorn leave the area at 7:00am. You say that DI Pope was “entitled” to use his preferred evidence. I suggest that use of this ‘preferred’ evidence without weighing it against all other available information is shoddy police work and if it was used after being placed in the context of the other available information then it was, in fact, a criminal act .
7. At complaint seven and referring again to the photographic evidence, Morresey describes a man with hair “down to just before his shoulder line” or “sort of shoulder length” “he wasn’t stocky” Wallace describes, hair “wavy and medium length” Levi shirt “I saw the Levi brand on it”, “wiry build” These descriptions do not coincide with the photographic evidence. There is a further photo (Waswo) which was said to have been of Scott Watson taken on 31/12/97 at 10:00 – 10:30 pm It shows hair that could not by any stretch of imagination be described as “”sort of shoulder length”. The inference can be drawn from your rationalisation of the description issue that any male person aboard the water taxi with Dyer, Morressey and Wallace would have been considered “similar” to Scott Watson.
Regarding the formal identification procedure issue that you say is unclear. I made this statement in full knowledge of the 11 January 1998 briefing notes. These provide a date for the formal identification procedure I allege. Had It been requested I would have provided further information on this subject. As there was no such request from the investigator, over a period of four years, I did not. You rationalise my allegation with the conclusion that police reference to a montage (formal identification procedure) on 11 January 1998 is, in fact, reference to the informal (and suspect) previewing of a single photograph by the police’ star witness at a time ‘after’ the said star witness mentions it in a videotaped interview. This non-disclosure matter is now the subject of a wider complaint in the hands of the IPCA.
8. Again you find that descriptions given by Harvey and Brown are “similar” to Blade. Again the similarities are tenuous at best. Of one hundred and forty nine vessels at or about Furneaux lodge on 31/12/97 – 1/1/98, one hundred and twenty three can be considered ‘white’, thirty seven were yachts each of which, if powered, would carry a light on its mast and any of these could be said to be “similar” to the vessel seen by Harvey and Brown had police the will to consider them so.
In my original complaint I attempted to separate matters of opinion, able to be defended by ‘belief’, and matters of fact, specified in the affidavit as being both true and correct. You have concluded that either no facts are expressed in the affidavit, or that some years after the fact a completely different meaning can be attached to the wording formulated by top level police. In another interpretation you imply that ignorance and incompetence are in some way a defence available to Pope. It is my understanding that police officers (such as Pope) are sworn to uphold the law and not just pick and choose from whatever evidence, credible or not, that might be available in pursuing justice. In other words, it is not only the duty of police officers to arrest or identify the potentially guilty but they also have an affirmative duty to protect those who may be innocent. So, for example, if 98 witnesses interviewed say I was with them at such and such a time and place and 2 others say I was somewhere else, the police cannot ignore the 98 and go with the statements of the 2 UNLESS they specifically and affirmatively state the circumstances and reasons as to why they are rejecting the testimony of the 98. Intentionally not specifying those reasons, while not necessarily amounting to affirmative perjury clearly perverts the course of justice.
There is also a misconception held by both yourself and DI Pinkham that material gained by way of the interception of private conversations was not used in R v Watson when, in fact, there was, with all the associated dramatics of ‘the locked metal box’ containing the “tapes”, the entry of ‘the key to the locked metal box’ as an exhibit and the headsets issued to selected observers of the trial. While nothing incriminating came from ‘Operation Celt’ the dramatisation of the ‘secret conversations’ was extremely damaging to the defence on a subliminal level. Apart from that subliminal effect, Operation Celt, like so much of operation Tam, was a complete waste of taxpayer money and an abuse of police power.
Even if we grant that several of the errors taken individually were minor ones, there is no way that Pope can explain away his ignoring the credible photographic evidence of Scott and relying on witness' statements to the contrary. At a minimum, it was Pope's duty to bring the contrary evidence (the photographs of Scott) to the attention of the judicial officer. Of course, if he did so, it is likely that the intercept order would NOT have been granted as there was clear evidence that Scott could not have been the lone man on the water taxi. The multiple errors in a sworn document, none of which seem to favour Scott Watson, clearly amounted to a pattern that would mislead the judicial authority that issued the interception order and any veteran officer knows that would be the result of such errors.
Concerning the delay of four years in concluding this investigation, I find it difficult to accept that it is coincidental that a conclusion was reached at the precise time that the Sunday Herald and Rodney Hide MP asked questions about the delay. Had they not done so, I am sure that I would still be waiting for a result. This circumstance leads to the resounding silence over why this matter did not come to a head at the time of Pope’s promotion to Deputy Commissioner in 2006. It defies belief that a candidate can attain such a position while under investigation for a criminal offense.
C. J. Watson