Hope-Smart killer Scott Watson will meet victim's dad in prison

Scott Watson (File)
Scott Watson (File)

Olivia Hope's father has finally been granted permission to meet his daughter's convicted killer, Scott Watson, inside prison.

Watson is serving a life sentence for the murders of Ms Hope and Ben Smart in the early hours of New Year's Day in 1998.

Ms Hope, 17, and Mr Smart, 21, disappeared after a party and were last seen boarding a double-masted ketch afterward at Furneaux Lodge in the Marlborough Sounds.

The bodies were never found and Watson has consistently maintained his innocence.

North and South journalist Mike White will also attend the meeting.

"After years of trying the Corrections Department has finally approved a meeting between Gerald Hope and Scott Watson in prison and has allowed me to be present as a journalist and as an independent third party," White told Paul Henry.

"This has been something we've been trying to arrange for many, many years and have faced a number of hurdles, and have been forced to go to the High Court twice, but it seems that this meeting will now go ahead."

"I can't speak highly enough of Gerald's persistence and perseverance with the bureaucratic and legal hurdles we've had to go through. Most people would have run out of patience or energy. But Gerald has been determined to see if the meeting could be arranged," White says.

"[Mr Hope] has specific questions he wants to ask Mr Watson, about events and actions, things he doesn't feel were ever raised adequately at Mr Watson's trial.

"He's expressed concerns and doubts about the investigation and trial, and has previously said that if Scott Watson can convince him that he's innocent, he'll help him in his attempts to prove that.

"But even Gerald accepts you can't sit across the table from someone, eyeball them, and work out if they're innocent or not. However, I think it's always of huge benefit to actually see the person and speak to them, rather than them be a caricature in your imagination."

No date has been set for Mr Hope to meet Watson, but the pair have been fighting for more than three years for it to take place.