Demonstrations calling for the release of convicted murderer Scott Watson were held in Christchurch and Blenheim today by people protesting his innocence.

Watson was accused of murdering Ben Smart and Olivia Hope on New Year's Day 1998.

He was convicted in 1999 but theories about his innocence have since been discussed at length in the media, most notably a North and South article published last year.

Their bodies were never found and Watson has always maintained his innocence.


About 40 people gathered for the rally in Christchurch, including Watson's niece, Lisa Gridley, who carried a sign saying "free my uncle."

Some came from as far away from Waikato to support the case for his exoneration.

Miscarriage of justice victim Arthur Allan Thomas, who spent nine years in prison for the murders of Harvey and Jeannette Crewe before being pardoned awarded nearly $1 million in compensation in 1979 made his way down from Hamilton for the event.

Watson should be given a new trial, Thomas told media.

The Christchurch march was met with resistance from an old friend of Hope and Smart, who called the demonstrators "filthy" before brandishing a bar of soap at them.

Watson has the possibility of being granted parole this year.