Ian Wishart: Ben Smart & Olivia Hope #murdercase

### NZ Herald Online 5:30 AM Sunday Jan 24, 2016
Wishart: Sounds case solved
Publisher Ian Wishart says a new book will finally solve the infamous Marlborough Sounds murder case. Wishart will next week publish the book, Elementary — The Explosive File on Scott Watson and the Disappearance of Ben and Olivia. The book looks at the disappearance of Ben Smart, 21, and Olivia Hope, 17, in the Marlborough Sounds on New Year’s Day, 1998. Scott Watson was convicted of their murders in May 1999 and remains in prison. He has denied any involvement in their disappearance and death. The remains of Smart and Hope have never been found.
Wishart said he was “pitching” the book as “solving the case”.
Read more

iwishart Published on Jan 22, 2016
Elementary by Ian Wishart


● Wikipedia: Ian Wishart (journalist)
● Facebook: Investigate Magazine

Author: Ian Wishart
Title: Elementary: The Explosive File on Scott Watson and the Disappearance of Ben & Olivia – What Haven’t They Told You?
Pre-order a copy from your bookstore because they will have guaranteed stock on day one. Orders can also be placed at Investigate magazine’s webstore.

Wishart - Elementary front cover

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, Crime, Democracy, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Police, Politics, Travesty

48 responses to “Ian Wishart: Ben Smart & Olivia Hope #murdercase

  1. Gurglars

    Ian Wishart is possibly the only investigative journalist left in New Zealand and probably Australia also. All of his books are worth reading.

    The interesting statistic, no policeman mentioned in his exposés has been charged and none have sued for libel.

    No law firm mentioned has sued for libel or slander.

    The government has not pursued the clearly guilty.

    Why is that?

    • Diane Yeldon

      Interesting that this has come up again. I never thought there was sufficient evidence that Scott Watson was guilty and thought maybe it was ANOTHER case of the NZ police feeling they had to quickly pin the blame on someone. Unsolved murders being bad for the tourist industry and NZ’s international reputation as a safe place to visit. I do hope this was a case of wrongful conviction with insufficient (even fraudulent or manufactured) evidence caused by misplaced enthusiasm in the pursuit of justice, rather than by political interference in the pursuit of money. But NZ could do without either of them. Not all mysteries can be solved quickly and some not at all.

    • Diane Yeldon

      Gurglars: And would you include Ben Vidgen as a NZ investigative journalist still standing?

      • Gurglars

        Thanks for alerting me of Ben’s work

      • Elizabeth

        Without disparagement to either man I would say they’re not in the same league.

        • Diane Yeldon

          I think Ben Vidgen’s work is vastly under-rated because on his insistence on his right to express himself dyslexically. Pity, that. Well, that’s just my opinion as a reader.

        • Elizabeth

          I have huge sympathy for dyslexical and related capacities – however it comes down to the quality of research and investigation. And believability of direct sources.

        • Swinging vicar would not damn a religious man, but Ian is of the Christian Right. This does not affect his massive journo skills, and he was a likeable talkback host. Fundamental Christianity informs his worldview, which is anti UN.

  2. russandbev

    Will be interesting to see what is revealed or not revealed compared to Keith Hunter’s book “Trial by Trickery”. In the past I’ve found Ian Wishart’s writing to be difficult to read. Disjointed and staccato.

    However Keith Hunter’s book made it quite plain that the Police were only interested in getting a conviction and used all of their considerable powers to do just that. Manipulation of the media was only a part of it. I think it more than interesting to note that despite the very clear accusations made in “Trial by Trickery” that no action has ever been taken against Keith Hunter.

    There is a very long history of “official” manipulation of the truth in this country and I was reminded of yet another example the other day when re-reading the story of the Air NZ Erebus crash where all of the pilot’s pages of his logbook were removed after recovery. Examples of high level deception and corruption are alive and well in NZ. What is also alive and well are the ingrained attitudes of the Police hierarchy who place themselves above the findings of courts and the law. “He may have been found to be not guilty, but we know best” is only too common.

  3. Calvin Oaten

    It was one from the top table of the ‘Police Hierarchy’ that gave the ‘eulogy’ at the funeral of the late detective inspector Hutton, the infamous ‘planter of the cartridge shell’ as evidence, that put Arthur Allan Thomas behind bars for over a decade for murder.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      That’s right Calvin. Took away YEARS of a man’s freedom, gave him the reputation of being a heartless killer, by fabricating “evidence”, an act that was not only against the law but sinful by anyone’s moral standards – oops, not everyone’s – still remained a fine upstanding member of NZ’s police force according to “one from the top table of the ‘Police Hierarchy’ ” who then ascended even higher within the hierarchy.
      “There is no corruption in New Zealand” … come on, sing along! Whaddarya. a trouble-maker? A dissident, a naysayer?

      Clean green and wet behind the ears, anyone who sings along without fingers crossed behind their back.

  4. natalie

    Wouldn’t read anything by this nut job. His misogynistic and anti-science agenda based on his ‘born-again’ christian beliefs remove any element of credibility.

  5. Hype O'Thermia

    Natalie, thanks for sharing.

    • Diane Yeldon

      Well said, Hype O’Thermia. That’s the kind of open-mindedness and willingness to listen to all points of view that we need. On the other hand, I’m just as bad – because I probably wouldn’t bother to read anything from a misogynistic and anti-science Muslim either. (But I totally identify with ‘nut job’.)

      • natalie

        You’re right Diane, anyone who views the world through the prism of what their particular imaginary friend tells them has zero credibilty.

        • Hype O'Thermia

          I’m not bothered by believers in imaginary friends when they honestly examine non-imaginary facts. What bothers me a lot is those who find it prudent to “believe” temporal authorities of higher rank who could affect their careers, and then go on to spread that word, and praise the wisdom and integrity of those authority figures, never challenging the official version of “facts”. So I’m OK with any religious beliefs as long as they’re silo’d from any material or actions that are presented to the public as being rooted firmly in factual information, and any commentary is identified as being opinion where its connection to facts is a matter of individual/faith-based interpretation..

        • Um, I follow femme du lac. She confers authority by lobbing wet scimitars at the chosen. I dont think she’s happy NOT HAPPY AT ALL with the steers wading through the pristine waters.

    • natalie

      You miss my point entirely. What I was saying is that anyone who makes a conscious choice to believe in any religion is an automatic fail when it comes to considering the veracity of anything at all. They considered the evidence….and decided on an anti-rational explanation.

      {Moderated. -Eds}

      • russandbev

        Garrison Keillor in a recent Praire Home Companion radio show had a lovely sketch purporting to be a chat with H L Menken. He said “a philosopher is a blind person going into a dark room looking for a black cat that isn’t there, while a theologian is the person who finds it”. Sums things up for me.

        But to return to the substantive discussion, it was intriguing that this story about “Sir” Fry and his mates and the cocaine running yacht came out in a leaked story to the Herald the day before Wishart’s book came out. Either way, I think that the way the trial of Watson was skewed, the way that the cops operated in and around Blenheim, the way that evidence was not there and all of a sudden was there, smacks entirely of another cop-driven “we know best and bugger the evidence” attitude. Put simply, since reading Keith Hunter’s Trial by Trickery, I believe Watson to be not guilty of the murders. Or maybe not proven if we had Scottish law.

  6. Gurglars

    Diane, think of the great writings you have forgone, Oscar Wilde, Rudyard Kipling and R B T Warren!

    • Diane Yeldon

      Have read Wilde (brilliant) and Kipling (a bit of a bore and an English bore at that). But R B T Warren has got me foxed – even with the assistance of Google..

  7. Gurglars

    Rabbit Warren.

  8. Elizabeth

    Elementary (the book) is eagerly anticipated. Mr Wishart is no fool and is always prepared to put his lot on the line where he is convinced of the evidence.

  9. Elizabeth

    Comments at What if? today perhaps show we need return of sunshine and heat of summer.

  10. Elizabeth

    ### NZ Herald Online 11:08 AM Thursday Jan 28, 2016
    Sounds murders: Olivia Hope’s father ‘not convinced’ photo is her
    via NewstalkZB
    Olivia Hope’s father has some questions for the man jailed for her killing, after reading a new book about the case. Watson is serving 19 years for killing the 17-year-old and Ben Smart after a 1997 New Year’s Eve party in the Marlborough Sounds.

    Elementary– The Explosive File on Scott Watson and the Disappearance of Ben and Olivia, written by journalist Ian Wishart, is due out tomorrow and purports to have found the mystery ketch in the case. Mr Hope said the book provided the most balanced account he’d seen about whether Watson was the murderer. He said Mr Wishart’s book opened his eyes to some of the evidence that wasn’t used in the trial.

    Herald Exclusive: Report blames Sounds murders on drugs syndicate
    Sounds murder case: the questions that need answering

    The Herald revealed today a report by the Maritime Research Group which includes a photo of a blonde woman on the back of a runabout on January 5, 1998, which the authors say is Olivia Hope. [Mr Hope] said an apparent sighting of his daughter five days after she was supposed to have been killed was unconvincing. Mr Hope received a copy of the report in 2011 but said he can’t see a link to his daughter. Mr Hope didn’t think the report included enough evidence to suggest the second mystery ketch existed. […] But he believed the group’s hypothesis, importantly, took the investigation in a new direction. […] The group’s report paints the ketch as having a central role in the smuggling of cocaine. The suggestion of a drug syndicate’s involvement in the murders was “chilling”, Mr Hope said. […] “The scale of what they’re proposing there; the quantities of cocaine being imported [is] chilling.”
    Read more

    Gerald Hope speaks to Newstalk ZB’s Chris Lynch about the new report

  11. Elizabeth

    ### Stuff.co.nz Last updated 15:38, January 28 2016
    New claims emerge but no trace of Ben Smart and Olivia Hope has ever been found
    By John Edens
    In the annals of New Zealand crime, the disappearance of 21-year-old Ben Smart and Olivia Hope, 17, after they boarded a yacht in the early hours of New Year’s Day in 1998, has been pored over time and again. No trace of the pair has ever been found.
    In the latest flurry of excitement, the New Zealand Herald reported the claims of a group called the Maritime Research Group, who believe a grainy photograph shows Hope alive several days after she was thought to have been killed. Aucklander and research group member Warwick Jenness says the report was the culmination of research spanning years. […] Jenness said the information was based on research dating back a decade and then compiled into a 100-page report sent to ministers, police and the Ministry of Justice. It was confidential because it contained the names of witnesses.
    Read more

  12. Gurglars

    As a reporter once said to me “an amazing coincidence”. Wishart comes out with a new book, no doubt brilliantly researched unassailable legally like all his others and crackpots and the police bag his offering or obfuscate.
    New Zealand moves down to below 100 in the corruption reality scale as distinct from the whitewash scale.

  13. photonz

    The problem with self titled “investigative journalists” like Ian Wishart (and Nicky Hager) is they’ll dig up interesting information (or sometimes just what’s already publicly available), but then they both try to sensationalise it for all it’s worth.

    That has often resulted in big exaggerations, jumping to huge conclusions over little evidence, weak conspiracy theories, and accusations that simply don’t always have any factual evidence to back them up (ie Hager’s criminal blackmail accusations in “Dirty Politics” that he backtracked from just days after the book was published).

    While it may be worth looking at what they dig up, it should always be taken with a grain of salt as I get the very strong impression that the primary aim for both, is always self publicity.

    When anybody is that sanctimonious, it always pays to be very skeptical.

    Saying that, the evidence against Scott Watson is virtually non-existent, or even points to his innocence. How many witnesses was it – fourteen? – that said the yacht had two masts – not one.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      “How many witnesses was it – fourteen? – that said the yacht had two masts – not one.” And these were people (like the water taxi guy) who knew boats. It’s like police saying 14 petrol-heads couldn’t tell a Cortina from a Mazda. Credibility?

  14. Calvin Oaten

    Interesting that on the eve of Ian Wishart’s launching of a new book investigating the Smart/ Hope disappearance and Scott Watson languishing in jail as a consequence, that the police make a great announcement on national news of a break through on a 40 year old murder inquiry. But when all the ballyhoo of this news is assessed it really said nothing.
    Could this be a police diversionary tactic to downplay Wishart’s effort? No, our highly esteemed incorruptible Police Force wouldn’t countenance that for a moment. Would they?

    • photonz

      Calvin – with all due respect, I think putting 8 detectives on a 40 year old case for several months, because there’s a very tiny chance it might be some sort of very slight distraction from a new book coming out, is a bit of a wild, far-fetched, and very weak conspiracy theory.

      • Calvin Oaten

        photonz – probably, but with their records in these things who could trust the police’s motives?

        • photonz

          I agree they haven’t got a good record with a lot of these high profile cases, and will blindly refuse to admit they’ve made any mistakes, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

          But putting a whole team of detectives on a old murder case for several months, just so in several months time, they may be able to put up a tiny distraction, ’cause Ian Wishart is bringing out a book, which may or may not as a minor side issue be critical of the initial police investigation, has to be the weakest of all conspiracy theories.

        • Elizabeth

          Nearly 100 people have called police with information on the 40-year-old unsolved murder of West Auckland teenager Tracey Ann Patient. […] Det Insp Sutton said the murdered girl’s family was comforted that, 40 years on, the public had not forgotten her.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        It’s not that they specially dredged up a cold case to investigate, but since it was happening it was a grand opportunity to make a big thing of announcing it.

  15. Elizabeth

    ### NZ Herald Online 4:06 PM Friday Jan 29, 2016
    Ian Wishart’s new book pulled from shelves
    An author-on-author scrap has broken out over the Marlborough Sounds murders with Ian Wishart’s new book being pulled from bookshelves under threat of legal action. Author Keith Hunter, who has also written on the case, told Whitcoulls he would sue Wishart and anyone connected to selling Elementary if it contained criticisms of his professional conduct. Hunter produced the documentary Murder on the Blade? in 2003 and then published Trial By Trickery in 2007.
    Read more

    Wishart threatened his own court action. “Ian Wishart is now considering legal action against Mr Hunter for slander of goods. It will be extraordinarily costly to Mr Hunter for putting a spanner in the works of a major book he hasn’t even read.”


    Earlier stories:

    12:35 PM Friday Jan 29, 2016
    NZH: Marlborough Sounds murders book: ‘Scott Watson betrayed New Zealanders’
    In Elementary, Wishart writes that the bodies of Ms Hope and Mr Smart were brought ashore and buried on land, in contrast to the police case which contends that they were dumped at sea. […] “I didn’t have access to police files when the first book, Ben and Olivia, was published,” he said. “If I had then Ben and Olivia would have had a very different tone. I didn’t want to have to say I had been wrong in supporting Scott Watson, but when I got access to the police files, and read what was in them, I felt the public had the right to know.”

    9:00 AM Friday Jan 29, 2016
    NZH: Sounds murder: Bodies of Olivia Hope and Ben Smart ‘never dumped at sea’
    • Explosive new book says bodies were taken off boat
    • Scott Watson denies killing pair, despite conviction
    • Police “contorted evidence” to fit the prosecution case
    • Claim that second person was on board the Blade
    The bodies of Olivia Hope and Ben Smart were taken off the boat of convicted murderer Scott Watson in Picton the day they were killed, a new book on the Marlborough Sounds murders claims.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Insecure, much? Not having much confidence in one’s own work, perhaps? This kind of gagging always makes me wonder about why the person brandishing lawyers’ threats is so nervous of a dissenting voice.

      • Elizabeth

        Yeah. Gosh, I hope something not to hide….

      • photonz

        Although the Herald report said, the book seemed to be even more about bagging other authors, than it was about the case.

        I wonder if Wishart bagged himself, considering he was one of those who wrote a book with the contrary conclusion to his current one.

    • photonz

      I think that fact that Wishart has now produced one book saying Watson is innocent, and one saying he is guilty, backs up my earlier point – that Ian Wishart’s primary goal in writing books, is to promote Ian Wishart.

    • Elizabeth

      Last updated 14:45, January 29 2016
      Stuff: At a glance: Ian Wishart’s Elementary
      Ian Wishart claims his 363-page book “obliterates” any chance that Scott Watson could be cleared of the Sounds double murders of Ben Hope and Olivia Smart. Released at 9am on Friday, Wishart pointed to what he called never-before revealed testimony and evidence derived from a police file he obtained. It comes after he published another book driven from court testimony, and in which he proclaimed Scott Watson to be innocent.

      Last updated 14:47, January 29 2016
      Stuff: Wishart: Watson didn’t mean to kill Ben and Olivia, but he should confess
      He didn’t set out to kill Ben and Olivia but a drug and drink-fuelled binge coupled with two innocent strangers who took the opportunity to stay on his boat was “the perfect storm” for convicted murderer Scott Watson, author Ian Wishart has told media. […] The book questions Watson’s story of sailing straight to a friend’s house at Eerie Bay after the New Year celebrations, with Wishart pointing to evidence from a then eight year-old Matthew Stevens, who reported seeing two men with black hair on board a sloop resembling Watson’s Blade, heading toward Picton on New Year’s Day.

      Last updated 20:48, January 29 2016
      Stuff: Whitcoulls pulls book on Scott Watson killings from shelves, author plans legal action
      Ian Wishart is preparing legal action against a rival author who he believes was responsible for Whitcoulls pulling his book from its shelves. […] Keith Hunter confirmed that he had called Whitcoulls and warned them he would sue anyone distributing the book if it did contain defamatory material. Hunter welcomed the legal action. […] Hunter said he was currently 103 pages into the book. “All I’ve found is…constant defamation of other people, specifically Scott Watson, [key witness] Guy Wallace, and by implication myself. […] Police have said they would consider new claims in the book that Scott Watson may have had an accomplice.

  16. Elizabeth

    NZ Herald – David Fisher 11:19 AM Thursday Jan 28, 2016
    Sounds murders: The questions that need answering

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Isn’t it amazing the things that get suddenly found when they search the same place again….
      “The only DNA evidence in the case were two blonde hairs matched to Olivia Hope from a blanket inside Blade. They were not present on the first search of 400 hairs but were found on the second search — the same day Hope’s hairbrush with her hair was present in the ESR lab.”

  17. Elizabeth

    Received from Douglas Field
    Sat, 30 Jan 2016 at 10:20 a.m.

    wishart - hunter swords [Douglas Field] 2

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