Attacked by an amateur – fisking an agenda-driven review of Elementary


Here are selected highlights from a review on the Nostalgia blog of my new book Elementary. Scott Watson supporters are republishing it everywhere, including Keith Hunter, so I thought I would allow readers to see the logical and factual flaws in the review as we go through it:

Wishart’s book Elementary? Not so much.

“I expected an impartial logic particularly because IW has previously co-authored a book which made the claim that Watson was not guilty.

“That impartial logic doesn’t exist in Elementary. The book has a basic design to convince a reader that IW’s conclusion is correct which is not evidenced based.”

WISHART COMMENT: Having run the ‘not guilty’ line in a previous book, I had to explain why I had changed my mind and bring my readers through the evidence that caused that change of conclusion. In this respect the book is actually far more temperate and impartial than Keith Hunter’s Trial By Trickery which begins from the first page to state categorically that Watson is “innocent” and that everyone saying otherwise are liars, corrupt, criminal, conspirators, defamers and devious. (All stated in Hunter’s open letter at start of book). At least my book does not begin with the conclusion, and does allow readers to take the journey and make their own minds up. And you are wrong – unlike Mr Hunter’s tome in my view, my conclusions are indeed “evidence-based”.

It starts with descriptions of the character of psychopaths which Ian Wishart seeks to link to his apparently impartial and professional position as an investigative journalist. That doesn’t work for me. Neither a Jury nor a Court decide guilt on the opinions of an investigative journalist assuming the role of a trained Psychiatrist on a person/patient whom they do not even consult. In fact a journalist is not a Psychiatrist.

WISHART COMMENT: Another fail by yourself Nostalgia. Hunter is not a psychiatrist either but he repeatedly claims the police were corrupt for calling Watson a psychopath. That’s why I quoted the DSM definitions by psychiatrists. Readers can read those definitions and decide for themselves whether my argument that Watson ticks the boxes is correct. A psychopath is not ultimately “determined” by a formal diagnosis. It is a personality type that four percent of us fit. Psychopaths existed long before there were doctors to formally diagnose them. We in the community learned to recognise predators among us long ago.

The only thing IW’s opinion does is confirm a bias and give a preliminary warning that his ‘diagnosis’ of Watson is going to rely on the psychopath label to cover the cracks in the Watson guilty narrative.

WISHART COMMENT: A failure in your logic. Your statement requires an assumption that there are “cracks” in the Watson guilty narrative. You have not established that and you don’t in the entire review.

In the tapes Scott Watson’s mother makes comments about Olivia and her parents which are unflattering, even perhaps exposing a jealousy. As IW continues his narrative commenting on the contents of the tapes he points out that the comments are callous and disturbing (my words, not his.) My thoughts had already jumped to the question as to whether Bev Watson had been aware that Olivia had been killed such was her language so removed from comments that one would expect. Near the end of the tape Bev Watson comments about the cost of the inquiry and who will have to pay for it when Olivia ‘turns up.’ Bev Watson had clearly considered that Olivia was not dead and would reappear. She was never gloating about the death of Olivia or Ben despite IW spinning it that way, he never retracted those comments perhaps hoping a reader would reach the same conclusion.

WISHART COMMENT: Missing presumed dead at the time, and still missing presumed dead 18 years later. So on your logic, Sandy Watson gloating about wearing skeleton earrings named “Ben & Olivia” presumably means Sandy knew they were dead and didn’t expect them to come back? Your selective quotation shows the weakness of your argument and your ow bias.

So IW attempted to paint a portrait of the Watson family which wasn’t consistent with the secret tapes. The tapes also include talk of Watson shooting the head of the inquiry Rob Pope, in my opinion it was all just talk and didn’t warrant inclusion in the book as I’m sure it would likely have been excluded from evidence at any trial as prejudicial and not helping the Crown case because the Watson family at least early on were convinced that the couple were not dead.

WISHART COMMENT: Only a few paragraphs in and you are now jumping beyond the facts and making compounding errors of logic. The discussion of paying a hitman to murder Rob Pope was mysteriously missing from earlier books that selectively quoted the tapes. I expressly included it to illustrate an example of “what haven’t they told you?” from the front cover. By ignoring that backstory, you show yourself to be a reviewer with an agenda.

The 3rd backdrop to Elementary was IW’s inability to hide his contempt or jealousy of Keith Hunter’s work on the case. He appeared to write on the basis that for his conclusions to be accepted that he needed to belittle Hunter’s work. He made some accusations against Hunter, conclusions which had a number of possibilities and not just one that appeared to be the best choice to devalue Hunter’s work. I will give examples of this later.

WISHART COMMENT: This is the first book in 16 years to argue Watson is guilty. More than half a million New Zealanders were exposed to Keith Hunter’s theories. I am required to show how those theories are wrong. Again, you are displaying bias in your writing.

He then goes onto develop the theme that ‘star’ witness Guy Wallace, as IW calls him, recollections of dropping Olivia and Ben that night were compromised because he had discussed them with other witnesses right from the start. This allows IW to pull apart testimony that doesn’t fit his theory while somehow stopping him applying the same restraints to testimony which suits him.

WISHART COMMENT: Er, no. Where later testimony of a witness was consistent with their earlier testimony I had no reason to challenge it.

He calls witnesses liars freely, when in fact they may simply be mistaken or as is the case most frequently, restricted to what IW claims they are saying. A reader is given no choice it’s either IW’s opinion or the highway.

WISHART COMMENT: Now you’re lying. Guy Wallace was proven to have lied, and given his prominence in the “not guilty” narrative it is essential for readers to know that. From memory the only other witnesses I called liars were the Erie Bay family, one because I proved it and two because they are the other main plank in the “not guilty” narrative. There was no possibility of them being “mistaken”, as the changed testimony in the book clearly shows. Out of some hundreds of witness statements quoted in the book, only four people plus Watson are called liars. What’s your agenda here? You are making stuff up. Your claim is provably false.

IW writes that because SW stabbed someone is prison it fits the definition of psychopathy – however he doesn’t bother to point out that his lack of supporting evidence that SW did actually stab someone when in prison.

WISHART COMMENT: Again, you are making stuff up. The stabbing details are quoted by Watson’s private investigators in the book (p44), and also Watson’s girlfriend says he told her directly about stabbing two people in prison (p64). You are so incompetent as a reviewer that I think you might be an Admin on the Free Scott Watson page.

We find out that the man named Andrew above claimed to have been told by Scott to keep his mouth shut. Later on we discover that there is no reason connected to the murder revealed by IW that indeed, if it were true, was why Watson had told his friend to shut his mouth. This leaves the possible conclusion that Watson, Andrew and others may have been involved in dealing cannabis or some other criminal activity.

WISHART COMMENT: Another unsubstantiated leap of logic from you. It could be that Watson and Andrew were both Druids who liked to dance naked in the forest, but there’s no evidence of that either. The statements from witnesses speak for themselves.

IW writes about SW making comments about raping women and snuff movies. This, as far as the book goes, is not substantiated in the book other than by hearsay.

WISHART COMMENT: You are a Numpty. It’s not “hearsay” if it is direct testimony by a party to the conversation with the accused. Where did you get your legal knowledge from, a rice-bubbles packet? Watson had the choice of answering such claims. More than one witness told of similar conversations so that provides corroboration.

There is another unsubstantiated claim by IW that a crewmate of Watson said that Watson would murder someone for the crewmate. How that finds its way into a credible book is a mystery.

WISHART COMMENT: Numpty again. See above.

We find out that Scott changed the name of his boat frequently to avoid paying mooring fees – of course that is not proof that he killed Olivia and Ben. In fact I don’t believe IW provides any proof of that, so the problem of the SW conviction continues on despite this book. Notable here, at about the same place in the book, is that SW talked about changing the colour of his boat long before New Years.

WISHART COMMENT: Readers are on to you now, just another wannabe keyboard warrior without the intellectual firepower to accurately review this book without letting your bias show. One would not expect at page 57 of a 364 page book to have had “proof that he killed Olivia and Ben”.

IW has Watson always carrying a flick knife yet we never heard this from Andrew or the reason why SW was allegedly threatening him. We do not know what Andrew might have known that Watson wanted him to remain silent about. A reader gets to read about a feud between Watson and another man over the shared ownership of a boat along with an allegation 95% ‘sure’ was 1 of 3 men yelling at another yachtie  but who couldn’t see properly in the night to identify him. It is revealed that feud was settled between the 2 men amicably.

WISHART COMMENT: I let the witness evidence speak for itself. It’s not up to me to make stuff up like you are trying to do. The witnesses say what they say.

There is much written about witnesses impressions of Watson ‘left out by Hunter.’ No idea where this is meant to take IW.

WISHART COMMENT: Hunter’s work was, up to now, the definitive version. By showing what Hunter did not reveal, I give readers the side of the story they had not been told. It’s hard to live up to the tagline “What haven’t they told you?” if you don’t then disclose that. Seriously, you call this a ‘review’?

Soon we happen upon North and South journalist Mike White, along with Hunter again, being attacked for not mentioning an unconfirmed incident some 9 years earlier that the New Year’s Eve at Furneaux Lodge with a young lady at what appears to have been a skin heads pad. The event, if it happened, is said to reveal that despite what both men having said that SW had moderated his behaviour, in fact he had not. Relying on an unconfirmed incident following which no charges were laid is very odd, it was after all nearly a decade earlier than the disappearance of Smart and Hope. Another example where IW choose controversial alleged events to draw his picture of a psychopath his book relies upon. The public need hard evidence, not speculation, nor attacks on the shortcomings, or not, of other journalists.

WISHART: The woman gave a signed statement to Police about an attempted knifepoint rape. It is clearly relevant. And readers agree. Are you the kind of man who condones violence against women?

We soon return to another tactic of the book, having the opinions expressed that some claimed Guy Wallace would rather lie than admit being wrong. It was important that Guy Wallace was wrong to suit the weak theories of IW, but that he relied upon it so much, and so blatantly, cast doubt again on his objectively – his investigative journalism. In general descriptions of Guy Wallace he reduces the man in a way many might feel unfair. He even fails to understand the consequences for Wallace of being a suspect in the murders. His view is ruthless to his cause of finally solving the case and it appears not to matter what gets in the way.

WISHART COMMENT: As it turned out Guy Wallace did lie rather than admit he was wrong, so you again show deliberate bias by ignoring reality. Wallace is the lynchpin of the “not guilty” narrative, but he is a proven liar when it suits him. I will be as ruthless as I have to be to get at the truth.

What does emerge from the wandering of IW’s logic is that police were interested in Watson right from the beginning because he was well known to them. No surprise there apart from the failure of IW to connect that if Watson was so well known many local witnesses would have been a source of information – particularly as to identifying Watson being in the company of the deceased couple. That didn’t happen before the book Elementary, and hasn’t done since its publication. That information is more important than a character analysis of one of the witness and a psychiatric evaluation of Watson. On that basis the book is a let down, reads as something developed for a captive market, a milking of a cash cow.

WISHART COMMENT: If I had wanted to milk a cash cow, I would have given the crowd what they wanted.

I noted at 33% of the way through the book that I didn’t consider IW has made in progress in support of his headline ‘Watson guilty.’ We read account after account in which Watson is clean shaven, or unshaven, his height, his manner, his eyes, the length of his hair. Yawn really, people already know about  the discrepancies in the evidence of witnesses to identity.

WISHART COMMENT: You (deliberately?) fail to point out that every one of those descriptions is a confirmed encounter with Watson. The point of including clean/unshaven, short/medium/longer hair is to show that known witness descriptions of Watson were sufficiently wide that pedant supporters of Watson cannot get away with the argument that his description didn’t match the mystery man. It did, but again your “review” is nothing more than a Watson defence trying to masquerade as objective when it isn’t.

People really need to know about the critical time when Watson, according to his theory, was on board his boat – along with the couple who were silent while Watson woke up people on other boats he was tied up to in order to continue the party.

WISHART COMMENT: Yeah, and those timelines are in the book. What’s your point?

I wanted to know about the absence of screams, how the up front and dangerous Watson  backed off every single time his behavior was called out that night. Watson might have been acting lecherously, though why if he had his victims somehow stowed away on his boat was he going onto other boats looking for company. Doesn’t make sense, Nor does the silence from the couple, their decision to go aboard the yacht of an apparent, lecherous stranger. If they, according to this scenario, were alive in the morning why didn’t they wake when their temporary bed set sail. It’s hard to buy that they didn’t, just like they didn’t scream, or fight back when Watson had attacked them, also doesn’t explain why he was seeking out female company on other yachts soon after or before he apparently attacked the couple. This is weak ground for the case of Watson’s guilt and which IW totally ignored, preferring to rely on his psychiatric analysis of Watson and his ability to explain the identifications of witnesses of people and things he never witnessed himself.

WISHART COMMENT: You are lying again, which sadly I am getting used to. The book does have a scenario in it dealing with the above. Ben and Olivia were heavily drunk and fell asleep. After trying to wake others on neighbouring boats he returned to Blade and in his drunken Jekyll and Hyde state saw Olivia asleep and a plan formulated. No one in the rafted boats heard his diesel engine start so clearly he untied Blade and kicked off from the raft allowing the outgoing tide to take him far enough out to start his engine without waking the boaties. Ben and Olivia were out like lights and the diesel would have been white noise. They didn’t wake. Ben would have been killed in his sleep. No noise. Then keep sailing to a secluded area. You are so full of supposition on other matters I’m genuinely surprised the obvious scenario escaped you, despite the final chapter.

IW brings his own argument and SW not being clean shaven by saying that the majority of witnesses said that he was not clean shaven. On IW’s own theory of eye witness corruption because of witnesses talking to one another (and in fact police, reading in the media etc, gossiping) his argument or opinion renders the ids hopelessly unreliable.

WISHART COMMENT: Rubbish. People were offering up these descriptions of Scott Watson from 4 January, long before the 12 January publicity about him. I set out this in the book. You are truly the world’s most incompetent reviewer. Don’t give up your day job.

IW has done this in his book, even turning the process into a majority argument as to which witnesses are right and which witnesses are not. This is not investigative journalism but rather adjusting information that is reliable and unreliable into shape to suit a theory.

WISHART COMMENT: No. ALL the witnesses describing Scott Watson in conflicting terms are right, because they are ALL confirmed sightings of Watson. That’s the point.

I could go on but I think I’ve done enough to show you are an amateur with an agenda. If Keith Hunter wants to endorse this as a ‘recommended’ review done with “authority and in considerable detail”, then in my opinion that just adds to my view of Hunter’s incompetence. Hunter actually says, “… I couldn’t do better.”

Sadly, I believe him – having read Trial By Trickery and his first formal challenge to Elementary. But Hunter continues.

It misses a single point – that the material Wishart has used against Watson was not a cause of the police focus on him. It is all dated well after 8 January.”

Again, Hunter is provably wrong (yes Keith, more incompetence from you I’m afraid. Stick to drama). Amanda Egden rang police on 4 January and gave them details of a Scott Watson encounter. It’s on pages 115 and 116 of Elementary.

Nostalgia, you and Keith Hunter are made for each other. Neither of you appear able to get your facts straight.

If anyone wants to wade through six thousand words of Nostalgia’s inaccurate drivel, it’s here