Kurt Bayer is a Herald reporter based in Christchurch

Scott Watson supporters march from Christchurch to Picton calling for his freedom

A group of Scott Watson supporters today began a series of marches between Christchurch and Picton to highlight their case that he is wrongly imprisoned for the Marlborough Sounds murders.

Watson remains in jail convicted of one of New Zealand's most controversial murders after 17-year-old Olivia Hope and her boyfriend 21-year-old Ben Smart boarded a yacht in the Marlborough Sounds with a man in the early hours of New Year's Day 1998 and were never seen again.

Watson was convicted of killing the pair despite their bodies never being found.

He has steadfastly maintained he had no involvement in their disappearance.

Today, a small group of supporters gathered outside the Christchurch Court House to protest his innocence and start a protest march that will take them to Picton.

"Scott is very happy that so many have come to the realisation that this case is based on lies," his sister Sandy told the gathering this morning.

"Scott appreciates all that you are doing for him and hopes that it will make a difference."

The supporters are marching through Christchurch this morning.

They will then drive north, stopping at the major towns en route, including Kaiapoi, Amberley, Cheviot, Kaikoura and Blenheim, where they will march before continuing on.

The protesters expect to arrive in Picton on Sunday afternoon.

Supporter Jono Townsend, 33, said he got involved after reading Keith Hunter's Trial by Trickery and watching recent documentaries on the case.

"I can't understand how this could happen to someone in New Zealand in this day and age," he said.

"I'm a firm believer in standing up for what you believe in.

- NZ Herald

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