Trial by Trickery


'...Keith Hunter's present work will take its place... not only as a 'cogent critique' but also as a relentless, detailed dissection of the Scott Watson investigation and prosecution, and a legitimate commentary on the adversary system as providing for a contest, not a search for truth...
... the reader should approach two issues in particular with an open mind:  the ‘mystery yacht’ versus Watson’s Blade, and the ‘mystery man’ versus Scott Watson.

The ‘mystery yacht ’ was the destination, perhaps the final destination, of Ben Smart and Olivia Hope, with the ‘mystery man ’, as identified by their watertaxi driver, Guy Wallace.  This ‘mystery yacht ’ was described repeatedly and insistently by people who knew their watercraft, as a forty-foot ketch, being an old-fashioned wooden vessel, with two masts, a blue feature band, a row of portholes, heaps of elaborate rope work on the decks, a high rear deck, akin to a Chinese ‘junk’, and a high step up to board.

Watson’s Blade, on the other hand, was a 26-foot steel sloop - about half the size of the other vessel, with only a single mast and none of the features of the larger vessel, and a step down to board.

The ‘mystery man’, who boarded the ketch with Ben and Olivia, as repeatedly identified by witnesses unknown to each other, was a bourbon-drinking wiry man, whose face had had no recent exposure to a razor, with lank, unkempt, wavy, shoulder-length hair, wearing a green shirt.  Watson, as repeatedly identified and photographed, was a rum-drinking, solid man, with close-cropped hair, clean-shaven and wearing a blue denim shirt.

The task for the jury then, and the reader now, is the task of merging – or not merging – the ‘mystery yacht ’ with the Blade, and merging – or not merging – the ‘mystery man ’ and Scott Watson.  Were there two boats, or only one?  Were there two men, or only one?
Good luck.

From the Foreword to Trial by Trickery
Bill Hodge, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law,
University of Auckland