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Dad Not Surprised By Investigations Finding

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Dec 21 NZPA - The father of convicted double murderer Scott Watson said he was disappointed about the narrow focus of a police investigation into complaints he made about Deputy Commissioner Rob Pope.

Mr Pope has been cleared of making false statements on an affidavit he presented to the High Court during an inquiry into the disappearance of Olivia Hope, 17, and Ben Smart, 18, on January 1 1998.

The investigation followed complaints by Chris Watson, whose son, Scott, is serving a life sentence with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years after being found guilty of killing of the pair, whose bodies have not been found.

Mr Pope, who headed the murder inquiry, swore an affidavit first presented to the High Court on February 18, 1998, to obtain electronic interception warrants.

The Independent Police Complaints Authority is also considering the matter.

Police said today that its investigations were carried out by Detective Inspector Ross Pinkham and reviewed by Assistant Commissioner Gavin Jones.

The review was itself independently reviewed by barrister Philip Morgan QC.

Mr Pinkham found that the allegation against Mr Pope of swearing a false affidavit was not substantiated.

Mr Watson told NZPA he had not yet seen the report but had been informed of its results.

"It's probably what was to be expected. I never expected much more of an investigation of police investigating police. I have more hope of the IPCA investigation. Hopefully the IPCA one will take a look at a bigger picture than what the police one was."

Police took Mr Watson's complaint "absolutely literally" which "was probably a mistake that I made".

"I condensed it to keep it simple and they've kept it that way. I would have hoped that in four years they could have looked at the entirety of the affidavits," Mr Watson said.

He was quite surprised at some of the justification the investigation gave for its decision.

"There was a bit about the actual affidavits being produced by others. I would have thought if you go into court and you swear something things do have to be factual. They're trying to say it doesn't really matter because someone else prepared it.

"To be fair, they did say that they don't do things like that anymore...but that doesn't make the thing any better."

The investigation took longer than expected and Mr Watson said that was probably done "in the hopes I'd go away".

Mr Watson has meet with the IPCA investigators and believed their investigation would be more comprehensive.

"I think they've found there's more to look at than meets the eye."

His son was starting to get a little bit down and get impatient.

"And you can't really fault him for that," Mr Watson said.

Mr Pinkham and Mr Jones met Mr Watson last week to explain the findings of the investigation.

Mr Jones agreed with the conclusions of Mr Pinkham's report.

"Errors or mistakes either inadvertently or collectively do not adversely impact on the overall integrity of the affidavit, nor do they meet a criminal threshold," he said.

Mr Pinkham and Mr Jones' reports would be forwarded to the IPCA for further review.

Police said they would made no further comment because the matter was still before the IPCA.

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