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Media names seized yacht's owner
On 14 January the media reported locals identifying the yacht seized on 12 January 1998, during the investigation into the New Years Day disappearances of Olivia Hope and Ben Smart, as that of Scott Watson of Picton.
Olivia and Ben were last seen by a water-taxi driver as they, along with a mystery man, boarded a yacht moored in Endeavour Inlet, off Furneaux Lodge. They were reported missing the following day and the police investigation Operation Tam began.

Neighbours said police had arrived at Mr Watson’s house early on the morning of 12 January but he was not at home. His neighbours described Watson (30) as a quiet person who keeps to himself and would not go out of his way to say hello.

In spite of the media disclosure, the officer in charge of the investigation, Detective Inspector Rob Pope steadfastly refused to enter into any public discussion with journalists about Mr Watson. It is as if he did not exist. At no stage during the inquiry do police refer to the sloop owner’s name, address, sex, or characteristics, a legally sound practice that appears likely to continue throughout. Mr Pope maintained his long-established position that everyone was being treated as a witness. No one was being treated as a suspect but he said the seized sloop remained at the centre of the inquiry.

(For obvious legal reasons including the defamation risk, it is extremely rare for police to publicly name so
His neighbours described Watson (30) as a quiet person who keeps to himself and would not go out of his way to say hello.
meone as a suspect. The exception might be if police are looking for a fugitive and they have sufficient information to arrest the person when located). However, an Assignment programme on Operation Tam broadcast on 12 March revealed that an offender profile was distributed to police staff at an early pre-search briefing. This named a man, provided background information on him and included two photographs. At that time, police were saying publicly that everyone in the inquiry was being treated as a witness – no one as a suspect. Later, they will explain that some 50 different ‘suspect profiles’ were prepared during the course of their investigation.

The term ‘suspect’ is literally inaccurate police jargon. A more accurate description of people on such lists is ‘those who need to be eliminated from the inquiry,’ (people with possible motives, opportunities, histories or propensities to commit a crime of the type being investigated). Dozens, sometimes hundreds, could fit into this category.

For more information refer to any of the 20 topics isolated for you by CrimeCo. Sequentially, Family Determination is recommended.

Next related article: Forward to Family DeterminationFamily Determination
Prev related article: Back to Sloop seized by policeSloop seized by police

Back to Operation TAM - Olivia Hope and Ben Smart Index
 

Scott Watson of Picton is named as the owner of the seized yacht.

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