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Double murderer Scott Watson's convictions go to Court of Appeal

Scott Watson's murder convictions has been referred back to the Court of Appeal by the Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy.

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Watson was convicted in 1999 of the murders on Ben Smart and Olivia Hope in the Marlborough Sounds. Source: 1 NEWS

Justice Minister Andrew Little made the announcement today.

In 1999 Watson was convicted for the murders of Ben Smart, 21, and Olivia Hope, 17, in the Marlborough Sounds around New Year's Day 1998. Their bodies have never been found.

Watson's first Royal prerogative of mercy, a special avenue for criminal cases to be re-opened was declined in 2008.

He made a second in 2017 and former High Court judge Sir Graham Panckhurst was instructed to conduct a review of Mr Watson’s second application and to provide a report.

Ben Smart and Olivia Hope. Source: Breakfast

"After thoroughly considering Sir Graham’s advice and the Ministry's report, I advised Her Excellency to refer Mr Watson’s convictions back to the Court of Appeal for further consideration," Mr Little said.

"The Governor-General accepted my advice, and granted Mr Watson’s application."

"As the matter will shortly come before the Courts, I will not be making any further comment," Mr Little said.