Experts divided after convicted murderer Scott Watson denied parole again

A writer and documentary maker says he is disappointed that convicted murderer Scott Watson was again denied parole, but a journalist who investigated the murders says it was the right decision.

Watson, now 49, was convicted of the murders of Ben Smart and Olivia Hope who went missing in the Marlborough Sounds in 1998.

The pair were last seen in the early hours of New Years Day disembarking from a water taxi. Their bodies were never found.

Watson, who has always denied the murders, appeared in front of the Parole Board in Christchurch on Thursday.

Despite assuring them he would be no risk to anyone and had a good support system in the community, the board expressed concerns about his attempts to engage in rehabilitation and his continued denial of offending.

His third attempt at parole was denied.

But Keith Hunter, who wrote a book and made a documentary on the Marlborough Sounds murders, told Newshub he was disappointed by the decision.

Hunter has previously met with Watson and said he found him to be perfectly sane and normal. He claims Watson is an innocent man.

"I'll say it again - the evidence shows him innocent. There is not a single piece of evidence that's got any value at all. Not one."

During the board meeting on Thursday, Watson expressed frustration at attempts to get him to confess to the murders and explain the crime, and if he did not do this he could not participate in rehabilitation programmes.

He was assured by the judge the treatment programmes does not mean he must confess but Hunter said that wasn't the case previously.

"What was unusual was the parole board insisted he confess, when in fact there is no evidence he did it. All reliable evidence was either destroyed or retracted."

But Ian Wishart, who wrote six publications on Watson's case, said a wealth of unused evidence overwhelmingly points to his guilt.

"The simplest way of moving this thing forward is just to admit it and tell police where the bodies are, give the families some closure and move on with your life," he told Newshub.

However, Watson is currently appealing his case after Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy referred Watson's murder convictions to the Court of Appeal in June.

Wishart said he believes the Parole Board made the right decision in denying Watson parole because he believes he still has issues to deal with.

"The court cases don't help the chance but the reality is when you look at the police evidence that was actually gathered, the stuff that they didn't use some of the evidence overwhelmingly points to Scott Watson's guilt."