Scott Watson's dad backs meeting with Hope, journo

  • 26/08/2016

A ruling by Corrections banning journalist Mike White from a meeting between double murderer Scott Watson and one of his victims' fathers will be reconsidered following a court decision.

Watson's father says Mr White is the key to a fair meeting between his son and Gerald Hope, whose daughter Olivia was murdered along with Ben Smart in 1998.

The High Court has directed Corrections to reconsider its ban on allowing the North and South writer to be present - and Watson's father Chris is happy that call has been made.

"Gerald trusts him, and so do we - he's been involved right from the start," he said.

Following the court's decision, Corrections said it would review the judgement and consider its options.

Mike White is not confident the reconsideration will get the ban quashed. He says he's wary of "the obstacles [Corrections] might try and come up with to put in our way".

"This is a three-year process - this has been going on since 2013 and this application has been going on for eight months," he said.

"It just seems that at every turn, Corrections comes up with something new, some other reason to put forward to prevent this meeting happening on reasonable grounds - it's beyond frustrating for all of the people involved."

Mr White says while the meeting probably won't result in them finding out whether Scott Watson is innocent or guilty, it will allow questions to be asked about what happened on the day Mr Hope and Ms Smart were killed and provide "another element in the process".

He says Gerald Hope's desire to meet with Watson is "incredibly brave".

"For all these years he's lived with this uncertainty - whether the courts got it right, whether the right man is in jail for his daughter's murder - and it's the least we can do to allow Gerald Hope that chance [to meet Watson]."

Mr Watson says it's crucial a reporter is present at the meeting.

"If one said it was black and the other said it was white there would be no intermediary there.

"I'm not saying that Gerald would come out of the meeting and say, 'He told me he did it', but if he did, Scott's got no recourse to counteract that."

Watson was sentenced to life for the murders of Ms Hope and Ms Smart in 1999.