Fatal blow to Scott Watson ‘Doubt’ docudrama – angry ‘mystery ketch’ owners come forward

Chris Gallivan

The host of the dishonest million dollar TV docudrama “Doubt”, law lecturer Chris Gallavin, has been labelled “disgraceful” by the families that owned the so-called mystery ketch targeted by the show

The mystery ketch sightings at Mapua that featured so dramatically in the Scott Watson TV programme “Doubt” turn out to be no mystery at all: they were investigated 20 years ago by police and cleared.

The Mapua sightings, set to haunting music and sombre speculation from the former law clerk, formed the pinnacle of the show, convincing thousands of viewers that Scott Watson had indeed been stitched up and was innocent.

The Doubt programme, made with the help of discredited amateur researchers from amid the Scott Watson support team, was given a million dollars of taxpayer funding.

It has previously been rubbished for major factual inaccuracies, but now the one jewel left in its crown, the Mapua sightings, have been shown to be a crock and – worse – researchers close to the Watsons had been warned beforehand.

The lead letter in this week’s Listener magazine reveals the extent of the Doubt programme fraud:

The final, brutal blow to the credibility of Mike Kalaugher, Chris Gallavin and the Doubt programme was delivered in a Letter to the Editor to the NZ Listener, 6 January 2018. It deserves reprinting in full:

We deserve better than the so-called docudrama about the Scott Watson case (Doubt, TVNZ 1, December 17). The significance of the ‘mystery ketch’ has taken on legendary proportions and just how this happened is illustrated by the segment in which five local people are interviewed and describe a ketch that came into Mapua Channel at a time that appears to perfectly match other ‘sightings’.

Well, that timber ketch had been handcrafted by a friend of ours and he and my husband had been sailing it in the Abel Tasman. At Mapua wharf, it was immediately boarded by police and soon eliminated from their inquiries. It was distinctive and had a few similarities to the infamous ketch. It also had its Friesian name on it.

It came in and out of Mapua a few times with various friends on board. It has done a lot of sailing in its lifetime and was only recently sold. Over the years, its skipper and we have fielded occasional calls from Watson supporters and there was a further police investigation instigated by them.

Had the programme makers done their homework, we could have saved them interviewing the five people from Mapua and drawing up the accompanying diagrams and sketches.

I thought Chris Gallavin’s conclusion regarding the ‘different outcome’ had the police continued to ‘follow up’ the ketch was simply disgraceful.

Judy Mitchell
(Mapua, Tasman)
Letter of the Week

Investigative journalist Ian Wishart said the latest development proved the programme was a fraud, in his view:

“It’s at this point that all of you who watched Doubt and believed law lecturer Chris Gallavin had got his facts right, should be writing to NZ on Air demanding your million dollars of taxpayer funding back and asking how much went to the Watson family and how much to members of their research team. I’m sure many people would like to know.”