14 Aug 2010

Father of Olivia Hope pleased police vindicated

1:43 pm on 14 August 2010

The father of Olivia Hope, who went missing with Ben Smart in the Marlborough Sounds in 1998, says he is pleased the police who investigated their disappearance, have been vindicated.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has looked into the police handling of the case after complaints were made by journalist Keith Hunter and Chris Watson, the father of Scott Watson, who was convicted of the killings in 1999.

The pair went missing from Endeavour Inlet in the Marlborough Sounds on New Year's Eve in 1997. Their bodies have never been found.

The IPCA found the investigation was conducted reasonably and rationally, apart from three aspects which it says had no significant bearing on the outcome of the investigation.

Gerald Hope says he believes the right man was convicted.

But he says hard, irrefutable evidence is yet to come to light that the pair was murdered by Watson.

Meanwhile, Chris Watson says the language of the report is quite damning, given the constraints the IPCA faces.

He also said it is the first official report that has made any criticism of the police inquiry.

Mr Watson hopes that the ings will help his son clear his name. A petition for a pardon is currently before the Governor-General.