The Front Page: Why Paul Henry regrets not telling Scott Watson’s story earlier & More Trending News


Ben Smart and Olivia Hope disappeared 25 years in the past. Scott Watson was convicted of their murders. He has maintained he’s harmless and has filed a number of unsuccessful appeals. Photos / NZME

Long-time broadcaster Paul Henry made headlines over the summer season interval for a shocking motive.

He took a while away from his boat and social engagements to pen a compelling essay for the New Zealand Herald, during which he outlined all the explanations he believed there had been a miscarriage of justice within the notorious Scott Watson case.

Henry was working at Radio New Zealand when the story first broke 25 years in the past. Like the remainder of the nation, he was captivated by the disappearances of Ben Smart and Olivia Hope within the early hours of New Year’s Day in 1998.

Watson shortly grew to become the centre of the investigative efforts – and would in the end be convicted of their murders in 1999.


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Watson, who was later sentenced to life behind bars, has continued to state his innocence regardless of spending 20 years behind bars.

Despite being on the coalface of the unfolding story, masking every growth as a newsreader, Henry by no means expressed any help for Watson.

Henry’s profession would rise through the years, with the broadcaster holding many prestigious and influential roles within the media. But he did not provide a lot of a view on whether or not there had been a miscarriage of justice.

Asked throughout an interview with The Front Page podcast whether or not he regrets remaining silent on the problem for thus lengthy, Henry doesn’t hesitate.


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“Yes, I do,” he says.

Reflecting on the trial and the conviction of Watson, Henry expresses concern that anybody might have been caught up on this investigation.

“I suppose everyone was a potential killer,” he says.

“I was working in Wellington. Maybe I did it? [It would’ve been] more inconvenient for me than Scott because I was a bit further away. But I mean everyone was a potential killer given there was no motive and no bodies.”

Henry argues that there have been gaping holes all through the case and that the vacuum in proof was being crammed with wild hypothesis about Watson’s prison historical past.

“There is zero hard evidence against him. In fact, was there even a crime? Here’s the total evidence that there was a crime: two people went missing and 25 years later, there’s still no sign of them… I’ve just given you, in those few [sentences] everything we know… All we know is that two people have gone missing and they’ve never been seen again.”

The broadcaster stated that the media frenzy across the case would have reached everybody who performed a task within the conviction and imprisonment of Watson all these years in the past.

“Go back 25 years. It was a much smaller country than it is now and the media platforms were also much smaller and fewer than they are now,” says Henry.

“When he walked into that courtroom, there wasn’t one set of eyes on him that didn’t know he was guilty.

“The story had been told and litigated before he came close to the courtroom.”


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Despite the curiosity and the affect of the latest Herald article, Henry now has no intention of taking it any additional. “I’ve done my bit,” he says. “I should have done something earlier. I occupied a huge number of platforms in this country, and could have done something about it then, but didn’t.”

After the publication of Henry’s story, Watson’s father Chris thanked the broadcaster for his efforts in a follow-up interview with the Herald. Henry hasn’t heard from the household, and he doesn’t need to both.

“They are fallout from my story,” he says.

“What my story was about was honesty, fairness and the justice system in this country. I don’t care about Scott Watson. I’ve got no reason to believe he’s a nice bloke or anything like that … None of that matters. What matters is that someone who hasn’t been proven guilty beyond all reasonable doubt lost 25 years of his life. That matters because it happened in this country.”

Watson stays behind bars for now, however his supporters hope a return to the Court of Appeal in May this yr might lastly set him free.

Listen to the complete episode of The Front Page podcast to listen to Henry’s view on what this case means for New Zealand, why he believes there was a miscarriage of justice, whether or not he believes the case might be turned over and why each New Zealander needs to be involved about circumstances like these.


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• The Front Page is a each day information podcast from the New Zealand Herald, obtainable to pay attention to each weekday from 5am.

• You can comply with the podcast at iHeartworkRadio, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

The Front Page: Why Paul Henry regrets not telling Scott Watson’s story earlier

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