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Watson faces parole hurdle

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 1/11/2016

Scott Watson © TVNZ Scott Watson Convicted Marlborough Sounds double murderer Scott Watson may have his meeting with Gerald Hope approved but faces a tough task of convincing authorities he is ready for parole.

Watson, 45, is serving a life sentence for the 1998 murders of Olivia Hope,17, and 21-year-old Ben Smart, whose bodies have never been found.

Earlier this week it was revealed journalist Mike White had been given Corrections Department permission to sit in on a meeting between Mr Hope, Olivia's father.

The subsequent article will add another chapter to the contentious Marlborough Sounds case, where Watson maintains his innocence.

Watson was seen by the Parole Board for the first time last year but declined an early release, with the board saying it didn't consider issues of guilt.

After he postponed a hearing which was to have been held by July, his second application is due before the end of the year, a board spokesman says.

Last year the board said he was an undue risk to the community, citing a psychologist's report and lack of treatment while in prison. He was quick to violence while he had support from family and friends but it wasn't clear if he would use it.

Watson's claims that he should be released because he had public support was "misguided", it said.

However, the board noted he was motivated to undertake rehabilitation and his protestation of innocence was not a barrier to him being granted parole.

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