During Scott Watsons trial prosecutors put much effort into portraying him as a liar. On closer examination these purported lies were no more than innuendo and distortion of the truth.
Clothing worn on New Years Eve:
It was said at the trial that Scott had lied about the clothing he had worn on New Years Eve. This was based on the fact that he had said the following in his statement:
"I was wearing blue jeans, white and black Bianchi shoes. I was wearing a grey jersey with two red stripes across the chest. I also had a grey t-shirt. It had "Ocean Spirit" written on it."
On its own this could be interpreted any way you wanted (as it was during the trial). But if you include the paragraph either side of it, it develops a totally different meaning:
"I have seen the picture of the ketch and cannot recall seeing another boat like that. There was a ketch - a cream coloured, steel, square transomed. It was seaward to us. I remember talking to Warwick about it. It was about 35 foot. I think it had an aft cabin. We didn't take that much notice of it. It might not have even been a ketch. It's not in the photo montage that you have shown me. This was about 3.00 or 4.00 pm. I can't remember if it was there afterwards. It didn't look like the picture. It looked like a Bruce ROBERTS' design. I used to be a boat builder. I still sort of am. I take quite an interest in boats.
I was wearing blue jeans, white and black Bianchi shoes. I was wearing a grey jersey with two red stripes across the chest. I also had a grey t-shirt. It had "Ocean Spirit" written on it.
I remember seeing the "Tamarack" come in. It was about 4.00 pm. I was with Warwick then. We mentioned all the pissed people on it."
In the correct context he is referring to an incident at around 4.00pm New Years Eve. Not 9.30pm as portrayed at the trial.
This is backed up by the supermarket photo taken shortly before he left Picton earlier in the day:
Wouldn'tit be helpful to know just what the question asked was?
Isn't it a shame that New Zealand Police don't regularly tape or Video record these 'interviews' as do police in other counties. The prosecution gave the impression that Scott was asked "What clothes were you wearing when you went ashore on New Years Eve?" Was that the question asked? Or maybe it was "What were you wearing when you went to Furneaux?" We can never tell, can we, because as with almost all of the statements taken by police in this case, There is no verbatim record of the interview. It should also be noted that Guy Wallace was interviewed on video one day prior to this. Equipment was available at that police station at that time.
Leaving Furneaux Lodge
Scott Watson was also portrayed as having lied about the time he left Furneaux lodge on New Years Day 1998. It was said by police and prosecution in court that he had stated that he left at 7:00 am. His boat does not appear in a photo said to be taken at 6:00am. Neither does the vessel Unicorn whose owner said that he left at 8:30 am. his wife saying 7:30am and His two passengers 6:30. It is these people's testimony that Blade was not in the bay when they left. Thus Scott is lying when he says that he left Furneaux at 7:00 am. lets look at Scott Watson's statement of 12/ 1/ 98:
"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.'
This by no stretch of the imagination can be taken as a definitive time of 7:00 am. Just who is lying?
When a Lie is Not a Lie
"I think it was about 2.00 am. I have got a feeling it was about then. I’m not exactly sure."
The above words are quoted from the statement made by Scott Watson to the police on 12 January 1998. Although this statement was classified as a lie during the whole of the police investigation and it was stated with pride by police that they had established that Watson had returned to his boat at a time nearer 4:00 am. Applications for interception warrants and search warrants referred to this supposed lie and used it as one of the main arguments for these warrants to be issued. They, of course, were issued.
Because of witness testimony at the trial disclosing that Watson returned to his boat alone, It became imperative to the crown case that he be telling the truth about this time. The absolute, split second, truth. He could not arrive at his boat alone at around 4:00 am as he needed to be in the company of the missing pair at this time and to be involved in the conversations which took place above the noise of an outboard motor to be guilty of the crime. The trouble was that he could not arrive at 2:00 am either as there were people up and about aboard the raft of boats at that time, Nor could he arrive much later than that, as there were people ashore who had him under observation.
Maybe Scott Watson was "Honestly Mistaken" about this time. Maybe Davison QC was the liar. And where does the trial judge, Justice Heron, stand in all of this when he issued an interception warrant on the basis that Scott lied about the time he returned to his boat and convicted him on the basis that he did not.
How Did Others Fare