Scott Watson kept out of public eye at mother's funeral

By Christchurch star staff, NZ Herald

Convicted murderer Scott Watson.  Photo / Supplied
Convicted murderer Scott Watson. Photo / Supplied

Convicted double murderer Scott Watson was deposited at the back door of a chapel away from the public eye to attend his mother's funeral today.

A High Court decision allowing Watson to leave prison for the funeral was released publicly today.

Justice John Fogarty accepted there would be those in the community who considered that any compassionate treatment of Watson was not justified because of his crimes.

However: "Parliament has clearly intended to provide for occasions for temporary removal from custody, or temporary removal from prison, of a prisoner on compassionate or humane grounds. There is no distinction drawn ... as to categories of prisoner, as to the crimes they have committed.''

He said there could be no question that Watson would in any way pose an undue risk to the safety of the community.

"It is clear that he will be under constant supervision during transit and during the funeral,'' Justice Fogarty said.

Watson would be taken to the chapel before the funeral and discretely transitioned from the prison van to the chapel, in a way which would mean "he would only be in the public gaze for a few seconds, if at all''.

"Mr Watson wants to speak at the funeral with his brother and sister, and read a poem,'' the decision said.

Conditions included that he would remain under the supervision of two escorting officers, and that he would not converse with the public other than family members.

About 100 mourners turned at Westpark Chapel in Burnside this morning to farewell Bev Watson, who died on Friday after suffering a series of strokes. She also had leukaemia.

Reporters were not welcome and were escorted away by the funeral directors.

Watson's father, Chris - who has always insisted his son is innocent - said earlier that the family wanted the 42-year-old at the service.

His son had been allowed out several times to see his mother in the "couple of months'' she was in hospital.

Watson was convicted of murdering Ben Smart and his friend Olivia Hope in the Marlborough Sounds 15 years ago. Their bodies have never been recovered.

- NZ Herald

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