All the police statements and job sheets available, on this website, are from the Operation Tam database. Every statement/job sheet is legitimate and traceable, through the prosecution team, the defence team and the NZ Police, no part of any of these documents have been tampered with or changed in any way. Every statement/job sheet has a modification date from when it was first saved in the Operation Tam database in 1998, the modification date changes if any file is tampered with, changed in any way, or re-saved. All of the files I am presenting on this website have their original modification date, and are valid and legally recognised.
Ben Smart and Olivia Hope disappeared on New Year’s Morning 1998, we all know the story, Scott Watson was convicted of their murders and sentenced to a minimum of 17 years in prison, but the intense controversy surrounding the case has intrigued many New Zealanders ever since, did Scott Watson do it, or did Ben and Olivia disappear on a mystery ketch? Was Scott Watson just an innocent bystander set-up by a relentless corrupt police force, or does it go much deeper than that? Well I think most of us can agree, the conviction of Scott Watson is highly questionable and the investigation by the Operation Tam police force, into the disappearance of Ben and Olivia, was not only shabby, neglectful and ill-prepared but their lack of motivation and due diligence in finding out what happened to these two was highly suspect.
In 2000 a book was published called Silent Evidence- Inside the Police Search for Ben and Olivia it was written by John Goulter. At the time of writing the book John Goulter was working for Prime Minister Jenny Shipley in the Prime Minister’s Office. Detective Inspector Rob Pope, the head of the Operation Tam investigation, had a significant role, as did many other top cops, in the production of this book, and Rob Pope wrote the forward. To the outside world this looks like a lovely gesture to Ben and Olivia, a beautiful tribute, but our first red flag is now being lifted, when do government insiders and top cops collaborate and write books together? If the ‘case’ had been truly ‘wrapped up’ and a conviction secured, why write a book, what on earth does one have to say, if the cops had the case ‘in the bag’ already, and a sound conviction, why would a government insider and a top cop, in cahoots together, collaborate and write a book?
Do government insiders and top cops really go out of their way to write ‘memorial tributes’ especially when, throughout the investigation it was obvious to anyone with common sense/insight following this case that there was something seriously unethical going on, especially when the police ignored the ketch sightings and focused on Scott Watson alone, and strangely there never seemed to be any focus on Ben and Olivia at all. This unusual behaviour by the police, was highly noticed and sensed by Gerald Hope, the father of Olivia, as in those early days there was no urgency to find these two. The panic and the worry that Gerald Hope had, in the end, was highly justified. The police wanted Watson (a conviction) and searching for the pair ceased. The police never seemed to focus on Ben and Olivia in the investigation, so writing ‘memorial tributes’ in the aftermath seems shamelessly hypocritical.
There is something exceedingly odd about the book Silent Evidence, it is either extremely well written with a conspiratorial twist, or badly written with no guidelines, accurate accounts, or plausibility. The book is a contradiction, in itself. But Rob Pope is standing firm by his book, Rob Pope in his own words understands “detail” which is crucially important, being the head of Operation Tam, he must get the “facts” correct, and he knows this, he is in a role of immense responsibility and importance – “facts” and “detail” are everything.
On page 12 of Silent Evidence Rob Pope, in his introduction, writes –
“For various reasons this case has received a high level of media and public attention, with considerable debate arising from that. Media reports, by their very nature, can often generalise issues and in the process ignore important detail. I would hope that Silent Evidence’s examination of the facts will help people to form more balanced and informed viewpoints.”
Rob Pope would never write the ‘forward’ of Silent Evidence if he wasn’t 100% certain of the final outcome of the book. The head of the Operation Tam investigation would never put his name to something he wasn’t 100% certain of, he had already convicted a man; this could be potentially, a really risky situation if John Goulter was running amok. It is blatantly obvious Pope had major knowledge and influence with this book and this is very significant because it unravels and reveals the true nature of Rob Pope, his team, and the New Zealand Government.
Lets have a look at the “facts” and the “details” in Silent Evidence.
On page 91 of Silent Evidence, John Goulter writes regarding Detective Sergeant Wayne Stringer identifying vessels at Furneaux Lodge-
“Wayne Stringer reported that 75 of the 82 boats seen in photos and videos had now been identified. He was most interested in a boat called something like Mea New Zealand, he said. ‘This looks like our vessel. It was described by the water taxi people as being in about the same position as Wallace describes, so it all seems to tie in.’ Stringer told the briefing his team was alerting Maritime Safety, Customs and Interpol about the boat to try to pin it down.”
From page 91, in Silent Evidence
Then further into the book on page 108, Goulter writes-
“Another boat discounted was the Mea New Zealand, which was found to have been booked in at the Picton ferry terminal until 1 January.”
AN INSUFFICIENT ALIBI
So Mea New Zealand was the ‘hot topic’ amongst the Operation Tam team, within the earliest part of January 1998, alerting Maritime Safety, Customs, and Interpol. What a chase down, pretty serious stuff, but not to worry the vessel called something like Mea New Zealand was located, and then discounted from the inquiry. A bit of a head scratcher to why John Goulter called the name of this vessel “something like Mea New Zealand” maybe John Goulter wasn’t sure of the name, well who cares, the vessel was found and discounted from the inquiry, the problem was solved, sorted, and put to bed.
But… because Rob Pope has a clear stance on “facts” and “important detail” we may as well have a look at his book. Remember Rob Pope did write in Silent Evidence –
“Media reports, by their very nature, can often generalise issues and in the process ignore important detail. I would hope that Silent Evidence’s examination of the facts will help people to form more balanced and informed viewpoints.”
Ok then, so the Mea New Zealand was discounted from the inquiry because it had been ‘booked in’ at the Picton Ferry Terminal “until January 1”. Well this is what Rob Pope and John Goulter are telling us, but what is actually in their private police files?
On the 10th of January 1998, the police located the MEA NZ in the Endeavour Inlet, (MEA NZ is how the name is correctly spelt and represented, the name of the vessel is actually ‘MEA’). Documents 10167, 10156, 10147– show that the MEA NZ was located on the 10th of January 1998.
In job sheet 10167– Susan Hartley (the wife, of the owner of MEA NZ) provided receipts to the police, which were submitted with the job sheet to verify where they had been, especially for the night the 31st of December 1997 to the 1st of January 1998.
1st receipt stated- Port Marlborough New Zealand Limited, receipt 4847, dated 30.12.97, for two days “MEA” to 31.12.97.
2nd receipt stated- Port Marlborough New Zealand Limited, receipt 5161, dated 03.01.98 for one day, “MEA”.
3rd receipt stated- Eftpos receipt from Barn Cafe, 48 High Street, Picton, at 10.48 am on 31.12.97 for $50.00 cash. Account – 5857 076875679001.
4th receipt stated- Western Ridge (Picton) receipt for $16.00 at 2.08 pm on 31.12.97.
The Port Marlborough NZ Limited receipts handed in by Susan Hartley are proof that Susan and David Hartley (the owners) had paid for berths at Port Marlborough NZ Limited, in Picton, including two days, the 30th to the 31st of December 97.
In David Hartley’s statement doc: 10147, Hartley states, he, his wife Susan, and the crew of MEA NZ remained in Picton on New Years Eve, went to the Federal Hotel and then he and his wife returned to their vessel around 12.30am. In job sheet 10156 Susan Hartley also reiterates what her husband has stated, regarding their alibi.
Now David Hartley stated in his statement doc: 10147, MEA NZ moored near the Ferry Terminal (which is the Picton Ferry Terminal) on the 29th January 1997, and remained there until departing on the 1st, but the problem is the receipt handed in by Susan Hartley was dated for the 30th (for two days only) – written “to the 31/12/97”. Ian Wishart on pages 223 and 224, of his book Elementary, has made sense of what could have happened, the receipt handed in by Susan Hartley was paid for on the 30th, but were covering for – the previous night of the 29th and for that following night, of the 30th. Ian Wishart is taking into account, the skipper had said in his statement, they had arrived on the 29th, and also Wishart has taken into account the receipt said “to 31.12.97”. Ian Wishart could no doubt be correct, and if so, the receipt handed in by Susan Hartley leaves the crew of the MEA NZ, without an alibi for the night of the 31st. This is a pretty serious situation, John Goulter and Rob Pope have said the MEA NZ was ‘booked in’ at the Picton Ferry Terminal until the 1st, they discounted the MEA NZ from the inquiry with one whimsical receipt, if Ian Wishart is correct, then John Goulter and Rob Pope’s sound alibi on page 108, of their book Silent Evidence could therefore be – unsubstantial, unfounded and incorrect.
Now, this receipt was paid for on the 30th (for two days), I have always assumed because it was paid for on the 30th it covered the nights of the 30th and the 31st – and this could still be the case, and if so do John Goulter and Rob Pope still have a leg to stand on, well lets have a look?
At the end of the job sheet 10167, it is stated the police phoned Port Marlborough (on the 11th of January) and spoke to the custodian Les Rockliff to verify the Port Marlborough NZ Limited receipt (dated for the 30th and 31st) handed in by Susan Hartley. The police needed to double-check MEA NZ was actually booked in and present in Picton on both of these dates, and had stayed overnight on the 31st. The police also had David Hartley’s statement stating the MEA NZ was moored near the Ferry Terminal arriving on the 29th until New Years Day (David Hartley is actually referring to, being moored at the Picton Ferry Terminal, and it is in conjunction with the receipts handed in by his wife). Now the custodian Les Rockliff said he was not working on the 31st of December but he confirmed he would fax the details of all the vessels moored in Picton between the 29th of December 1997 to the 2nd of January 1998. The police were covering ground. Rockliff did say MEA (which is MEA NZ) was moored at the Picton Ferry Terminal, it is stated his records confirmed MEA departed on the 1st and returned on the 3rd of January 98.
On January the 12th it has been recorded by Operation Tam, that a fax came through to the police from Port Marlborough NZ Limited by the custodian Les Rockliff (doc: 12853) listing all the ‘casual vessels’ that were berthed and recorded at the Picton Marina, the Town Wharves and the Ferry Terminal Jetties between the 29th of December 1997 to the 2nd of January 1998.
Casual vessels are vessels that do not have a permanent mooring; they are vessels that come and go – holiday vessels, that type of thing. At Port Marlborough they record these vessels on a daily basis because the owners are expected to pay a daily fee, Steve Mckeown, the custodian in Picton, who has been employed by Port Marlborough NZ Limited since 2001, replacing Les Rockliff, confirmed this to me. The same rules applied in 97/98, also in 97/98 the owners of these vessels were expected to pay $10.00 each day, for one night of berthage. MEA NZ was classed as a ‘casual vessel’ as it came from the Mana Cruising Club in Wellington.
But there is a slight problem, on doc: 12853 MEA was recorded by Port Marlborough NZ Limited but for one day only, the 1st of January. MEA was recorded at the Ferry Terminal Jetties, which is also known as the Picton Ferry Terminal, for being present, on the 1st only. Not up until the 1st as Goulter states, on page 108, of Silent Evidence.
On the 31st of December no records were taken that day by Les Rockliff (or by anyone at Port Marlborough NZ Limited), now Susan Hartley provided a receipt to the police from Port Marlborough NZ Limited for two days, for the 30th to the 31st, but on both of these days MEA NZ was not recorded by Les Rockliff or by anyone else at Port Marlborough NZ Limited for being present at the Picton Ferry Terminal.
David Hartley, the owner of MEA NZ said in his statement doc: 10147, that his vessel arrived and moored near the Ferry Terminal (the Picton Ferry Terminal) on the 29th until departing on the 1st. But the MEA NZ was not recorded as being present at the Picton Ferry Terminal on the 29th or the 30th and no recordings were done on the 31st. If MEA NZ arrived on the 29th and never left their berth, why weren’t they recorded by the custodian as being present on the 29th, or more importantly on the 30th?
Susan Hartley also provided receipts for the Barn Café in Picton on the 31st at 10.48am, and for Western Ridge in Picton on the 31st at 2.08pm, so therefore with the Barn Café/Western Ridge receipts MEA NZ could have been berthed in Picton sometime on the 31st as this shows a definite date and time, but we also have to take into account these receipts are confirmation that a person was in Picton, not a vessel.
And if it were the case MEA NZ was in Picton on the 31st, from 2.08pm onwards there is nothing substantial to confirm MEA NZ actually remained in Picton. After the 2.08 pm timeframe MEA NZ easily had more than enough time to cruise down to Furneaux Lodge, and then, easily make it back to Picton the next day. Nearly all of the boats that arrived at Furneaux Lodge on the 31st were somewhere else the next day, so who is to say that MEA NZ couldn’t do the same? Just because Les Rockliff recorded MEA NZ as being berthed at the Picton Ferry Terminal on the 1st, that does not determine whether MEA NZ was berthed there overnight, on New Years Eve.
There is absolutely no proof whatsoever MEA NZ was berthed at the Picton Ferry Terminal overnight on the 31st to the 1st, MEA NZ could have been anywhere overnight on the 31st and the custodian Les Rockliff on the 1st, when doing his rounds, wouldn’t have been none the wiser.
In doc: 12853 MEA NZ was recorded by Les Rockliff as being berthed at the Picton Ferry Terminal on the 1st of January only.
But Goulter states in Silent Evidence, on page 108-
“Another boat discounted was the Mea New Zealand, which was found to have been booked in at the Picton ferry terminal until 1 January.”
Rob Pope and his team double checked the receipts, with Port Marlborough, the very next day (the 11th), Rob Pope had their receipt dated for the 30th and the 31st, and the owner David Hartley had stated in his statement the MEA NZ arrived on the 29th and never left (the Picton Ferry Terminal) until the 1st. The police received a fax of all the boat listings at the Picton Ferry Terminal, MEA NZ was not recorded on either the 29th, 30th or the 31st. MEA NZ hasn’t an alibi for any of these dates, to state that the MEA NZ was ‘booked in’ at the Picton Ferry Terminal, in the book Silent Evidence, technically this is true, the crew had a receipt, but this is extremely deceptive because the back-up proof reveals MEA NZ has no proven ‘physical address’ at the Picton Ferry Terminal for the 29th, 30th, or for the night of the 31st, and what makes it even worse is – Rob Pope knew the MEA NZ had an insufficient alibi, so why did he allow John Goulter to write with such a deceptive manner, that the MEA NZ was discounted legitimately, when it clearly wasn’t?
The fact that Goulter stated this “fact” in Silent Evidence is unprofessional journalism; it is misleading to the public. The Police knew the custodian Les Rockliff did not record MEA NZ as being present at the Picton Ferry Terminal on the 29th, 30th and on the 31st yet Goulter and Rob Pope permitted this deceitful statement to be written in their book.
Also, the police cannot use the 31st of December as sufficient evidence to discount MEA NZ from the inquiry as no records (at Port Marlborough) were even taken that day. There is actually no evidence MEA NZ was in Picton on that day. So for Goulter and Pope to consider even using that date (the 31st) to corroborate their story in Silent Evidence, to discount MEA NZ from the inquiry is seriously disturbing.
Now, if MEA NZ and the crew weren’t at the Picton Ferry Terminal, where were they? They were recorded by the custodian on the 1st, but that doesn’t count for anything; it’s where they were the previous night, the 31st that counts. In the 7645 police statements and job sheets I have, no one witnessed the MEA NZ at the Picton Ferry Terminal on the night of the 31stor for any of the previous days or nights, but the MEA NZ was witnessed, in the police files, on the night of the 31st, and on the day of the 1st, by three separate witnesses, and you will never guess where, at none other than – Furneaux Lodge.
A spanner in the works, no one witnessed the MEA NZ at the Picton Ferry Terminal on the 31st, but a solid witness saw this vessel at Furneaux Lodge that exact same day, Rob Pope and John Goulter have promoted a slippery alibi indeed. I am becoming exceedingly concerned, because the more I investigate Rob Popes “facts” and “details” in Silent Evidence, the more I realise Rob Pope and John Goulter do have knowledge of the MEA NZ as having an insufficient alibi. This is a serious accusation for me to make, but the proof is there, in black and white, in the police files 10167 and 12853, the files quite easily speak for themselves. This is a massive case, there is a lot at stake, Ben and Olivia are still missing. For John Goulter and Rob Pope to back up their claim, that the MEA NZ had a solid alibi (at the Picton Ferry Terminal), at this point in time, would be a hard one to prove, the police dropped the MEA NZ inquiry, seemingly, at this point, knowingly holding information that the MEA NZ had an insufficient alibi – an open window. This doesn’t look good, and probably not the best idea, to advertise openly an alibi, as being sound, with Rob Pope’s approval, in a book, when the alibi is totally inadequate.
Also, Port Marlborough NZ Limited cannot possibly assure (or guarantee) that the vessels berthed at the Picton Ferry Terminal will be berthed there permanently all day and all night for 24-hours straight. Vessels come and go constantly, for John Goulter and Rob Pope to promote MEA NZ has having a sound solid alibi, in Silent Evidence, is a serious risk to take, Rob Pope was the head of Operation Tam, he is in a position of immense responsibility, and from reading the Operation Tam police files, it is highly evidential that Rob Pope has no evidence whatsoever the MEA NZ was ‘physically present’ in Picton, on the night of the 31st.
On page 108 of Silent Evidence, MEA NZ was discounted from the inquiry because it had been “found to have been booked in” at the Picton Ferry Terminal. This is ‘technically true’, the crew of MEA NZ on the 10th of January 1998 produced a receipt proving they had been ‘booked in’ at the Picton Ferry Terminal for two days, most probably covering the nights of the 30 and the 31st of December 1997, so therefore John Goulter is ‘technically correct’ and I must say, it’s always a good thing to get your “facts” and “details” correct when writing a book, and by the looks of it John Goulter has done well, he and Rob Pope I see, have given this a lot of thought. Although, it is a pity they never mentioned the fax, disputing the credibility of the receipt – I am guessing the fax just got in the way.
Also, we must remember – being ‘booked in’ at the Picton Ferry Terminal is one thing, actually being there, is another. Ian Wishart made this excellent point to me, when I was dissecting critical information, in Silent Evidence. Wishart revealed an insight I had missed, when I was analysing the carefully written words by John Goulter. Just because John Goulter is ‘highlighting’ MEA NZ had a receipt proving they had been ‘booked in’ at the Picton Ferry Terminal does not categorically prove (or necessarily mean) the MEA NZ was actually there ‘physically’.
MEA NZ AT FURNEAUX LODGE
When the police released the boating list to the public of all the vessels moored at Furneaux Lodge from the 31st to the 1st of January, MEA NZ was not on this list. Mike Kalaugher also constructed a list in his book of all the vessels at Furneaux Lodge on New Years Eve, MEA NZ was not on that list, nor mentioned in his book The Marlborough Mystery. In Keith Hunter’s Trial by Trickery, MEA NZ is not mentioned either. Contradicting the official police boating list, witnesses confirm in their police statements and job sheets, in the Operation Tam police files, that the vessel MEA NZ was at Furneaux Lodge on the evening of the 31st of December and in the daytime on the 1st of January. The police discounted the MEA NZ from the inquiry, this vessel should be, according to Rob Pope safe and sound at the Picton Ferry Terminal, but witnesses confirm the MEA NZ was indeed at Furneaux Lodge.
Ronald Farrell, a Furneaux Lodge employee, stated on the 6th of January 1998 that he saw MEA NZ rafted to the outside of Oranui, on the evening of the 31st of December doc: 20035.
Job sheet states:
“Obtain notification notice through operation correspondence of a notification from “Ripper” FARRELL from the vessel Ripper, moored at Furneaux on New Years Eve.
Notification originally made to the Picton Police on 06.01.98.
FARRELL states that he remembers the vessel MEA NZ rafted to the outside of Oranui on New Years Eve. States that the vessel is similar in description to the one sought by police.”
Oranui was moored close to the wharf, with three other vessels Nugget, Beau Dor Rell and Sherryl. Christopher Wilson, the skipper of Oranui, maintains no one was rafted to their port side (their left side) that night.
Of note: it was Detective Sergeant Wayne Stringer who recorded Ronald Farrell’s job sheet – the same cop hunting down MEA NZ on page 91, in Silent Evidence, coincidence? No. This must have been the beginning of Wayne Stringer’s excitement; Stringer had found out MEA NZ was at Furneaux Lodge. Slight problem though – MEA NZ shouldn’t be at Furneaux Lodge at all, document 20035 shouldn’t actually exist, but it does exist, this is a serious situation indeed, this could potentially mean, the police may have documented openly, in Silent Evidence – a fraudulent alibi.
Also, Wayne Stringer’s over-enthusiasm of the MEA NZ is an observation one must not ignore. Alerting Maritime Safety, Customs, and Interpol – is not the definition of a ‘light search’. Interpol? Now that’s guns blazing, a bona fide fully-fledged hunt down, so it seems the police may have had a slight inkling MEA NZ was at Furneaux Lodge, otherwise, why all the fuss?
The MEA NZ alibi, so far, is extremely worrisome to say the least, but with another witness coming forth, their alibi at the Picton Ferry Terminal is becoming increasingly fragile. In the Operation Tam police files, witness Anthony Kiernan, skipper of Nugget, who was rafted up next to the vessel Oranui, saw the MEA NZ leaving the Furneaux Inlet on New Years Day doc: 10133.
Anthony Kiernan states:
“I saw a vessel named “MEA NZ” (MEA in capitals, NZ in small letters). I first noticed it on New Year’s Day when it was leaving. It is a ferro (concrete) boat coloured white with a green stripe. I have subsequently seen it and socialised with the crew around the Sounds. It is not like the boat you have described. For a start it is sloop rigged. The skipper is from Auckland. I can’t recall his name.”
Anthony Kiernan is describing the vessel in the photograph below, funny that, considering this vessel has a secure alibi elsewhere, according to Rob Pope, yet Anthony Kiernan has identified this vessel at a place where it should not be – at Furneaux Lodge!
We have two separate witnesses stating they saw MEA NZ at Furneaux Lodge on the evening of the 31st, and on the day of the 1st over New Years Eve 97/98. Considering MEA NZ is not supposed to be at Furneaux Lodge, two witnesses are saying it is.
A Furneaux Lodge employee, David Furneaux, who worked New Years Eve, stated that his wife Helen, saw a boat of interest at Furneaux Lodge that wasn’t on the official boating list, and too close to comfort, to the name ‘MEA NZ’. We have another serious anomaly in the police files, regarding MEA NZ. A third separate witness report was made. Doc: 10560.
David Furneaux states:
“I had helped set the garden bar up that day and I worked there that night. In fact, I was between there, the foreshore and the chalet all day. I never went onto the water as such. My wife went out on the “Yolande” though.
From what she has told me, the only thing she saw of interest was the name of a boat which was similar to “Meanza”. I haven’t seen that name on your boating list in the paper though.”
John Goulter and Rob Pope have presented in their book MEA NZ – a vessel the police were ‘most interested in’ they discounted this vessel, but the alibi presented by John Goulter and Rob Pope in Silent Evidence, is proving to be farcical.
A) There is no evidence MEA NZ was berthed at the Picton Ferry Terminal on the 29th, 30th and for the night of the 31st – contrary to what the owners David and Susan Hartley are stating, and what Goulter and Pope are letting and leading us, to believe.
B) There are no witnesses in the Operation Tam police files, who witnessed the MEA NZ at the Picton Ferry Terminal and most crucially for night of the 31st, but we have three separate witnesses stating that the MEA NZ was at Furneaux Lodge – instead.
From MEA NZ to Maenz – One and the same.
On page 91 and 108, of Silent Evidence “a boat called something like Mea New Zealand” as John Goulter likes to put it, was found by the police and then discounted, seemingly a straightforward operation had taken place, the story had come to an end, the MEA NZ was done and dusted, well that is what the book is telling us, but then something extremely unusual flourishes out of the midst – the mystery ketch – the ketch the police never found finally got a name, on pages 88 and 89, of John Goulter’s book, this new name, completely irrelevant of course to the MEA NZ on pages 91 and 108, this new name was – Maenz, just a coincidence? Well according to John Goulter and Rob Pope it is just that.
On page 88 of Silent Evidence, John Goulter mentions a name that Guy Wallace thinks could be the name of the mystery ketch, the mystery ketch the police never found-
“He had mentioned Maenz as a possible name of the ketch, but he wasn’t sure.”
Then on page 89, of Silent Evidence, Goulter again, states Guy Wallace thought he might know the name of the mystery ketch-
“This time Wallace remembered the name as the Maenz or something similar.”
Now, in Silent Evidence, MEA NZ (page 91) and Maenz (pages 88/89), the vessel Guy Wallace thought could be the name of the mystery ketch are two completely separate vessels, but behind the scenes the police files tell another story, an untold story, that these two boats are one and the same. Critical information that could help find out what happened to Ben and Olivia, but withheld by John Goulter and Rob Pope, for their own reasons. So where did Maenz come from, the boat Guy Wallace stated he thought could be the name of the mystery ketch?
Remember Ronald Farrell, our first MEA NZ witness? He had stated on the 6th of January 1998, that he saw MEA NZ rafted to the outside of Oranui on the evening of the 31st – doc: 20035. Remember his first statement?
6th of January – Ronald Farrell states:
“Obtain notification notice through operation correspondence of a notification from “Ripper” FARRELL from the vessel Ripper, moored at Furneaux on New Years Eve.
Notification originally made to the Picton Police on 06.01.98.
FARRELL states that he remembers the vessel MEA NZ rafted to the outside of Oranui on New Years Eve. States that the vessel is similar in description to the one sought by police.”
Then something truly extraordinary starts happening involving two of the Furneaux Lodge staff employees, Ronald Farrell who stated MEA NZ was rafted to Oranui (above) and Guy Wallace the water taxi diver who had stated he had dropped Ben and Olivia off at a mystery ketch.
Now MEA NZ is a large 47ft vessel, predominantly white with a green stripe around the top of the hull and a green stripe near the waterline. This vessel has one mast. But because of its shape and size it is passable to see why Ronald Farrell believed it was similar to the mystery ketch the police sought, there was some reason Ronald Farrell felt it was necessary to let the police know MEA NZ, in particular, was at Furneaux Lodge, he told the police straight – it was a clear statement, it was definitive.
But in Ronald Farrell’s second statement: doc: 10064, dated the 8th of January (two days after he had stated MEA NZ was rafted to Oranui), suddenly Farrell changes the name of MEA NZ into the name Mae NZ, and also, into a completely new boat – with a new description! In three short paragraphs, in what seems – a confusing manner, with a non-conspicuous blasé approach – Farrell starts shaping this new vessel (Mae NZ) he has just created, from no description at all, into a description of an older boat with a blue line. His second statement below exhibits – confusion has set in, but a new creation is blooming. Also, watch how uncertain Farrell is after he was so definitive with his Oranui location only two days earlier – totally clear-cut, now look at him – hazy and completely unsure with his bearings.
8th of January – Ronald Farrell states:
“I remember seeing two boats moored in this area – one was the “Mae NZ” and the other was the “Bin Tang”. There was also an older type of boat that was similar to the boat you are interested in. It was moored in this general area.
It was a large boat and I’m sure it would have been a two mast boat just because the type of boat it was. I didn’t see two masts but that’s the impression it gave me.
I may be getting a bit confused here. If the “Mae NZ” is a large white yacht with a blue line then this is the older boat I saw. The name “Mae NZ” sticks in my mind and this makes me think it could be the older boat.”
Ronald Farrell had a definitive statement – MEA NZ was rafted to the outside of Oranui – statement made on the 6th of January 1998. Two days later, the vessel is called Mae NZ. Farrell is now suddenly confused to where this vessel was moored and with whom, he is also unsure of the description, but he finally establishes it was a large white old yacht, with two masts maybe, and with a blue line. Ronald Farrell has gone from definitive to jumbled confusion, in two days! Now some people might think Ronald Farrell is just confused -“it’s confusion, he is confused”- well that is not what I think, and that is not what the police think.
For a start – Ronald Farrell’s first statement shouldn’t even exist. MEA NZ shouldn’t have been witnessed at Furneaux Lodge at all, in the first place, and then for Ronald Farrell to go from definitive to jumbled confusion in two days, resulting in what seems to be an intentional camouflage, a concealment, of the MEA NZ, this is evidence that a cover-up just might be – fledging. An observation not gone unnoticed by the NZ Police, and behind the scenes, they were all over this.
In Ronald Farrell’s third statement (job sheet number: 30814) dated the 9th of January, Ronald Farrell is definitive again, he has even added a measurement – the confusion has clearly gone. MAE NZ is now solidified – a bona fide vessel (a ketch) fitting the description, amazingly, of what the police are truly looking for. In 3 short days MEA NZ (a large white/green sloop) has been transformed into MAE NZ (a large white/blue ketch).
9th of January – Ronald Farrell states:
“I saw a vessel matching the description of the ketch you are looking for moored in Furneaux in the inlet (I’ve spoken to Tom FOGARTY).
At the time I was on a tender and this ketch was moored around BING TANG and a party boat called DOUBLE TROUBLE (26’ Cresta craft). BING TANG was a plastic yacht.
I don’t recall much about the ketch, other than the name MAE NZ, which was written in black on the bow. The letters MAE were in block letters and the NZ was in letters about quarter of the size. I can’t recall whether the last two letters were NZ or AZ but it was something like that.
The hull was white and it had a blue stripe through it, below the water line. The stripe was about 8” thick and was about the same distance down from the top of the deck, as it was wide.
I was low down in the water and didn’t really get to look at how many masts it had. I think it was on 31 December 1997 I saw it.”
Now if your wondering whether Farrell is legitimately talking about two separate vessels one called MEA NZ and another called MAE NZ this gives it away. In Farrell’s third statement (as above), job sheet number: 30814, Farrell states:
“I don’t recall much about the ketch, other than the name MAE NZ, which was written in black on the bow. The letters MAE were in block letters and the NZ was in letters about quarter of the size.”
Now if you look at the photograph of the real vessel MEA NZ – it is on the MEA that the letters are in block letters and the NZ is about quarter of the size (written on the bow).
Ronald Farrell has, in three short days merged MEA NZ a real vessel, into a fictitious ketch called MAE NZ. Being camouflaged by a fictitious ketch called MAE NZ is hardly a sophisticated intelligent idea. If we retrace Ronald Farrell’s statements backwards, the trail leads straight back to MEA NZ sitting at Furneaux Lodge, a place where it’s not supposed to be. And by the fiasco Ronald Farrell has created over these 3 short days – merging one boat into another, even if this was an innocent muddle up, it is exceedingly odd Farrell fixated on ‘one vessel’ that actually wasn’t even supposed to be there, but at the Picton Ferry Terminal instead! It is also extremely noticeable; he made a ‘definitive witness account’ first, and then moved further away from it in his latter statements. His statements also, were ‘segmented’ – there is obvious evidence of a transformation evolving – the ‘missing link’ being doc: 10064 where you can clearly see a new boat being created, this is where the creation of the MAE NZ began.
On the 9th of January Ronald Farrell had finished converting MEA NZ (a large white/green sloop) into MAE NZ (a large white/blue ketch) – and as if right on cue, the same day as Farrell’s final MEA NZ/MAE NZ transformation (the 9th), another Furneaux Lodge staff member conveniently starts remembering a possible ketch name (the same day!) and it consolidated and supported Farrell’s ‘MAE NZ name change’ and that person was none other than Guy Wallace, the water taxi driver who said he had dropped Ben and Olivia off at this apparent mystery ketch. Guy Wallace, on the 9th of January 1998 all of a sudden for the first time came up with a name for this mystery ketch; Wallace thought it was something like ‘The Manz’ (doc: 10081). For six whole days, from the 3rd of January right up until the 9th Wallace had no name for this apparent “mystery ketch” and then on the 9th of January, all of a sudden he has an epiphany – at the exact same time his co-worker has just transformed MEA NZ (a large white/green sloop) into MAE NZ (a large white/blue ketch). Coincidences are funny things, aren’t they?
Then two days later, on the 11th, in Guy Wallace’s video interview, doc: 12635, this section starts on page 95 and goes to page 97, Guy Wallace was being asked about the name of the mystery ketch, by the same detective who had taken Wallace’s statement the day before: Tom Fitzgerald. Guy Wallace states he thought the ketch name was ‘Manns’ (typed transcript – spelling interpretation). Fitzgerald pretty much hits up Wallace straight away – that someone had put that name ‘Manns’ into his head. Fitzgerald then states they, the police, had found the boat Maenz (when in reality the police had actually found the real vessel MEA NZ the day before, on the 10th, and had been watching very closely Ronald Farrell’s ever changing statements), Fitzgerald also states that the people out at Furneaux had been talking about this vessel Maenz. Fitzgerald even spelt out the name M-A-E-N-Z, in letters, for Wallace. After Fitzgerald states they, the police, had found Maenz and it wasn’t the ketch description Wallace had been describing (Fitzgerald knows Maenz is truly MEA NZ) Wallace acts surprised, but what is surprising is how responsive Wallace is to the name Maenz (“Really?”). Wallace then, readily admits that the name Maenz ‘triggered in his head’ somehow maybe as he was driving past in his water taxi -“Everything’s possible though” Wallace states “isn’t it” he further states.
The only way Maenz could have ‘triggered in’ Wallace’s head was if he knew about the name through Ronald Farrell (his co-worker) as it was Ronald Farrell who had ‘created’ the MAE NZ name change to begin with (20035 10064 30814), it was only afterwards Wallace came in, seemingly, to support it. Wallace’s name changes are just as bizarre as Farrell’s, from Manz, to readily admitting it was – Maenz. It seems Wallace, coincidentally, has adopted the same technique his co-worker Farrell had used – a transitional merging arrangement.
Ian Wishart also came to the same conclusion, in his book Elementary, that somehow via Ronald Farrell, Guy Wallace must have had the name ‘Manz’ placed in his head:
Page 216, of Elementary, Ian Wishart states:
“Where on earth had Mae NZ come from? It seems more than a coincidence that Guy Wallace the very next day offered police the name “Manz”, when previously he’d remembered nothing.”
Page 219, of Elementary, Ian Wishart states:
“Rip Farrell has seen the boat at Furneaux, assumed it could be the ketch, and the jungle drums got word through to Wallace, who altered the name to “Manz”.”
The police knew behind the scenes MEA NZ and the name MAE NZ were unequivocally linked through Ronald Farrell’s statements, but when Guy Wallace six days after he made his first initial police statement, finally came up with the name ‘Manz’ – the fact that this happened the exact same day his co-worker Ronald Farrell had just finished a three day stint camouflaging MEA NZ (a sloop) into MAE NZ (a large white/blue ketch) it is more than just a little noticeable to say the least. Although ironically Detective Tom Fitzgerald, Investigative Journalist Ian Wishart, and I, all seem to be on the same page with this one – and only know too well, the name ‘Manz’ Wallace came up with was stemmed from Farrell somehow, and after close inspection of Ronald Farrell’s statements, by the transformation that has taken place, the nature of the statements reveal evidence, Farrell is trying to hide the MEA NZ, amongst a rather ridiculous kafuffle it seems, after regrettably saying it was there, to begin with.
GUY WALLACE’S BEHAVIOUR
Guy Wallace was the water taxi driver who said he dropped Ben and Olivia off at a mystery ketch but it seems the Furneaux Lodge staff employees are having a very confusing time indeed when being interviewed by the police.
In the High Court Trial in 1999 Guy Wallace stated that prior to New Year’s Eve while working at Furneaux Lodge, he had used the Furneaux Lodge water taxis “many times”. Wallace was also asked whether he was familiar with the locations of the moorings in the bay and Wallace replied “Yes”. Guy Wallace was also asked whether he knew the general set-up (of the bay) and Wallace replied “Yes”. Now Guy Wallace knew the locations of the moorings and the general set-up, why then couldn’t he get the ketch location right?
When Ben and Olivia disappeared and the searches were being conducted, Guy Wallace’s knowledge was crucial but Wallace couldn’t remember the area where he dropped Ben and Olivia off at, in the bay. Wallace said the mystery ketch was next to the Spirit of Marlborough (doc: 10861) then he said it was next to a ‘Markline’ (doc: 10860) then it was next to a vessel called Awesome (doc: 30380) and then near Rippa (doc: 20931). Somehow Guy Wallace had lost all sense of direction, in a time when his brilliant knowledge of the bay was needed the most. It is unrealistic and suspicious, that conveniently, Wallace, all of a sudden is having memory lapses as to where he dropped Ben and Olivia off at, or maybe it was the pressure the police put him under, but somehow, unfortunately, I think not. Ian Wishart’s profile of Guy Wallace, from the Operation Tam police statements, in Elementary, regarding mainly his behavioural aspects, is right on the money. In the 7645 statements in the Operation Tam database, it could be that – Roz McNeilly is his only friend; Guy Wallace doesn’t exactly have the best reputation.
For example Wallace’s former boss Robert O’Malley (doc: 30983) was so concerned regarding Guy Wallace’s involvement in the disappearance of Ben and Olivia, that he gave the police an area to check in-case Guy Wallace had “done away with them himself” – considering there are multiple statements, from witnesses, who all have similar views of Wallace’s frightening behaviour, it is worrying the police actually let this go. The cops knew emphatically Wallace was a serious worry, but to secure the conviction of Scott Watson, the police disregarded such statements like the one from Wallace’s old boss, but would you?
Robert O’Malley states:
“I am speaking to Detective Constable HIBBS of the Nelson CIB in relation to Guy WALLACE who worked for us some time ago.
I have known Guy Wallace for some time because he was a friend of my sons for a while.
About 1989, I employed Guy as a labourer working on buildings in Renwick and the Sounds.
Initially before we really got to know Guy he appeared to be OK and there were no real problems.
Later when we got to know him we realised that he told lies, had a violent temper, and thought he was God’s gift to women.
We found that he had a great imagination about himself and most things that he said seemed to be lies and were very hard to believe.
It was mainly lies about his personal life and not work related, although he initially said that he was really experienced at being a labourer and we found out that he wasn’t.
Sometimes at work he would yell and scream and rant and rave, and it was then that we realised that he had a violent temper.
There was never any warning and it would just happen all of a sudden. I once asked him to help me to lift something and he just went off and yelled and screamed.
There was virtually no reason for him to go like this that I could see. I remember once down at the Sounds when he was working and we were living with the owners that we were doing some building for.
He was in the shower and there was a slight fluctuation in the water temperature and he ended up belting the shower walls. He would get uptight and it would take him a while to calm down again. I have seen him previously go red in the face when he gets upset.
He did not ever fight physically with the other guys that worked for me that I am aware of.
Guy thought that he got on with the guys he worked with and the people we worked for but I know that once these people got to know him, they didn’t like him. He thought he was everyone’s friend really.
He appeared to have a sick attitude towards woman and the way he spoke about them. He appeared also to me to be a womaniser. Once when we worked on a job down in the Sounds, he took a fancy to the wife of the building owner and he was always paying her attention.
He worked for about 4-5 months for me. After that incident in the shower where he went mad, I decided that I did not want him working for me anymore and sent him back.
The owner of the house dropped him off at Rai Valley and he hitched back to Blenheim I think.
This job that we were doing was at Port Ligar.
Since then I have seen him a couple of times and he has been friendly towards me. Initially he was cross that I fired him but seemed to come right later on. He initially tried to get the union onto me.
My son Nigel doesn’t have anything to do with him anymore.
Initially when I first say Guy WALLACE on the news about his missing person case in the Sounds, I thought that he had done away with them himself.
I really thought that he had done it himself when I first saw it. I don’t think that he is the type of person to go and plan something like that but if it was a spur of the moment thing, maybe.
I do not know Scott WATSON and neither do I recall seeing the sloop at all in the Sounds.
I was in the Pelorus Sounds for New Year’s Eve.
This is about all that I can help you with at present. I have not really heard much about what has happened.
We used to own a bach at Onepua Bay at around the same time and Guy WALLACE has been there a few times. He stayed at the neighbours bach a few times with Nigel when Nigel used to mow the lawns there.
He knows the area quite well.
We no longer own a bach there any more.
There is one area in this bay that seems to have a lot of debris wash up on it. It is by the first bach in, and has a long beach that goes right in. It is on your right.
The bay is quite deep and it is just behind that hook that you can see on the map.
The WILLIAMS’ bach that Guy stayed at is quite and old homestead and it has quite a large flat area behind it. Guy would know the area around there quite well. The owner is Brent WILLIAMS and he is hardly ever there.
I think that it probably would be worth a look in that area.”
Would you want to be on a water-taxi, at night, with this man, ask yourself? In Wallace’s video interview (doc: 12635), from page 142, Tom Fitzgerald hits Wallace up regarding his ‘missing time’. All up ALL of Wallace’s water taxi trips he did at the end of the night, which included Ben and Olivia’s last ride, took at the most 30 minutes. Wallace agreed with Fitzgerald with this 30-minute timeframe. But there is an extra one-hour or even more, which excludes Wallace’s 30-minute timeframe where he can’t explain where he was while out in the bay, doing his water taxi rides that morning. Now whether this ‘missing time’ is suppose to occur in-between Wallace’s water taxi rides or lumped in at the end, who knows, but what we do know is, there is a significant amount of time by Wallace, unaccounted for.
In doc: 30968 Donald Cleverley, (also known by his middle name ‘Murray’) was the group manager at Punga Cove Resort, he stated that while he was at Furneaux Lodge in March 1998 he heard Ted Walsh (real name Edward Walsh) at Furneaux Lodge say something rather unsettling.
Donald Cleverley states:
“Last week I went to Furneaux for a drink. Ted WALSH was in the lodge intoxicated. He said that Rachel from Furneaux had lied about Guy WALLACE’s whereabouts for 2 hours, inferring that nobody really knew where he was for two hours, say 12-2 am or 1-3 am. It seemed a strange thing to say. He said it in front of Brian the manager. Rachel is his stepdaughter. Ted wasn’t hiding it at all.”
Rachel Veitch was Furneaux Lodge staff; she was the employee co-ordinating the water taxi rides to and from the boats, from the Furneaux jetty, using a handheld VHF radio. When Guy Wallace finished his water taxi rides Rachel Veitch and Robert Mullen (water taxi employee) were still on the Furneaux jetty, and both helped Wallace pack up for the night. Now, it was known that Guy Wallace was having a sexual relationship with Rachel Veitch and Wallace said nothing of this to the police. Since Rachel was the one on the Furneaux jetty when Guy Wallace finished his water taxi rides, it would be Rachel who would know more about Wallace’s times than anyone else. It was her job to co-ordinate the water taxi rides herself therefore her recollection is vital. Guy Wallace knew both Ted Walsh and Rachel Veitch well, Guy Wallace was staying on Ted Walsh’s boat ‘Sweet Release’ after New Year’s Eve, so he had ample time to talk to Ted Walsh, so with Donald Cleverley’s statement above surfacing, concerning Rachel lying about Guy Wallace’s whereabouts, blurted out by an intoxicated Ted Walsh – maybe Detective Tom Fitzgerald was on to something with his timings, because to this day, Guy Wallace still can’t explain his ‘missing time’ of more than an hour or so, when doing his water taxi rides that morning, when Ben and Olivia went missing.
We now have Wallace leading the police on a wild goose chase, to where the mystery ketch was situated (and then a final fifth place, when liasing with author Mike Kalaugher), over an hour unaccounted for where he can’t explain where he was that morning, in his water taxi, further information surfacing (Donald Cleverley doc: 30968) that backs Detective Tom Fitzgerald’s concern regarding Guy Wallace’s ‘missing time’, and then a subtle but very noticeable ‘support’ in helping reinforce Ronald Farrell’s concealment, of what looks to be a very serious, but very stupid cover-up of the vessel MEA NZ.
The outcome being – we are highly likely dealing with criminals and Furneaux Lodge staff who are possibly being leaned on, the behaviours presented by Ronald Farrell and Guy Wallace, of what looks to be a very serious cover-up of the MEA NZ, is highly noticeable, so what the hell is going on? Well, the scrambling around trying to hide the MEA NZ behind a fictitious ketch called MAE NZ or Manz/Maenz, that tells us – an unpredictable situation has most likely occurred, these guys are scrambling around to the point of idiocy, lacking any ingenious ideas or rational thought – a case that gets as big and as messy as this, one can surmise big money and drugs are involved, mistakes are being made. The idea of hiding the MEA NZ behind a fictitious ketch called MAE NZ or Manz/Maenz- fitting the description of a ketch the police are already looking for is disastrous – ‘this idea’ seems to have stemmed from no thought at all, but no doubt frantic panic and a rash decision is at the forefront here. So far Ronald Farrell and Guy Wallace are proving to be highly untrustworthy, their mannerisms are suspicious, they are making mistakes, and their statements are proving that something untoward is happening – and it involves the deliberate concealment of the MEA NZ, at Furneaux Lodge.
THE HUNT FOR THE MEA NZ
On the 9th, the same day as Farrell’s last statement and the first day of Guy Wallace’s ‘Manz’ introduction the hunt was on for the MEA NZ. The obvious excitement, spurred on by witnessing the blatant cover-up by Ronald Farrell, is evident in how the police reacted to this (behind the scenes) – the ‘MEA NZ to MAE NZ’ change was a serious concern, and this was documented in the police files. The police knew MEA NZ and the name MAE NZ were related and were one and the same hence becoming the ‘most interested’ vessel by Detective Sergeant Wayne Stringer, and promoted for by Rob Pope in Silent Evidence. But both John Goulter and Rob Pope failed to disclose an irrefutable link of vital importance, between MEA NZ on page 91 and 108 and the missing mystery ketch Maenz, on pages 88 and 89.
The entrance of the hidden rabbit hole begins on page 91 -Wayne Stringer’s interest in MEA NZ enters the fray (which is clearly the subject of Ronald Farrell’s statements) and then the vessel is discounted on page 108, (with an insufficient alibi, behind the scenes, I might add). And then the rabbit hole resurfaces again, on pages 88 and 89 – to a completely separate topic entirely – to Wallace’s own admission (an obvious reference to Wallace’s interview with Tom Fitzgerald) that the Maenz could have been the name of the mystery ketch, the mystery ketch the police never found. Why did Rob Pope and John Goulter fail to mention MEA NZ on pages 91 and 108, and Maenz, on pages 88 and 89, were one and the same, an obvious extension of the original name MEA NZ, a vessel they did find, and that both witnesses involved with the MEA NZ, on pages 91 and 108, and the Maenz, on pages 88 and 89 were known to each other, both being Furneaux Lodge employees?
Maenz would have never entered Guy Wallace’s head if it weren’t for the cover-up of the MEA NZ, by his co-worker Ronald Farrell, yet Rob Pope and John Goulter have hidden this vital link (via a hidden rabbit hole – an untold story), a linkage that proves a cover-up was in full flight, of the MEA NZ. Both Rob Pope and John Goulter have deliberately allowed MEA NZ (on pages 91/108) and its subsequent name change Maenz (on pages 88/89) to be completely disconnected from each other in their book, when the evolution of the MEA NZ/Maenz name change is directly and unequivocally linked, why do this – if they are not covering it up themselves?
In a tantalising fashion, Rob Pope and John Goulter have dangled enough information to reveal, that they know a lot more than they are leading on. The name Silent Evidence, actually may yet, live up to it’s namesake.
The fact is, in early January 1998, the police took this very seriously, they had good reason, there was evidence a cover-up was evolving, and this was before even two more witnesses came forth, with their witness accounts of the MEA NZ being at Furneaux Lodge.
Rob Pope and John Goulter promoted MEA NZ and Maenz as two completely separate vessels, but Goulter’s lengthening of MEA NZ to Mea New Zealand, to disguise it from it’s derivative Maenz, on pages 88 and 89, isn’t exactly going to cut it – the proof is in the pudding with these police files! MEA NZ and Maenz are the same boat and the police, in Silent Evidence, have hidden this fact – intentionally.
1) Doc: 20032 – Kevin Kershaw from Customs, searching all variations of MAE NZ and MEA NZ Investigation dated 9/1/98.
2) Doc: 10969– NZ Search and Rescue, letter from J A McLean, replying to Wayne Stringer (McLean is in touch with the Maritime Safety Authority and the Ministry of Commerce – Communications Division) regarding all names of vessels with a combination of the letters M.A.E in it. Dated on the 12/1/98.
3) Doc: 12677– The police contact Darryl De Lacy at the Mana Cruising Club and ask him about a vessel called ‘Mae’, De Lacy stated there was a vessel called ‘Mea’ that moors at the Mana Cruising Club. Job sheet recorded by Wayne Stringer. Investigation dated 9/1/98.
4) Doc: 20626– The police made inquiries through a man named Phil Vining regarding the name ‘Mans’ (Could be the way Guy Wallace pronounced Manz), with the spelling of this variously given to the police as ‘Maenz’ or ‘Meanz’. Investigation dated 9/1/98.
5) Doc: 20629– Wayne Stringer finds Ted McDonald and his vessel Bintang, at the Picton Ferry Terminal, Bintang is the same vessel whom Ronald Farrell stated that the latter version MAE NZ was moored near, at Furneaux Lodge. McDonald states he was at Furneaux Lodge for a brief period on the 30th of December 97. He said he sailed to Ruakaka Bay for New Year’s Eve. McDonald is asked about a vessel called ‘Mea’ or ‘Mae’. McDonald says he is aware of the vessel the police are looking for but has only seen it in and around the Picton wharf area at the Picton Ferry Terminal, where McDonald was presently moored. Ian Wishart presented the MEA NZ crew in his book as family orientated, and they did apparently have kids board their vessel but the only description of the MEA NZ crew that has surfaced is from Ted McDonald.
Doc 20629 states:
“When asked about the name ‘Mea’ or ‘Mae’ he is aware of a similar vessel which he’s had dealings with in the last two weeks. he describes it as being a big wide 47’ concrete yacht and they have seen this vessel in and around the Picton wharf where McDONALD is presently moored. He has had dealings with the occupants of this vessel because he said they basically stood over them to get their berth. he has seen it on more than one occasion at this location and thinks the last time he saw it was either the previous day or two days previous.
He said the occupants of the vessel looked fairly rough. There may be a female name Katherine on board and there is another slim guy with tattoos and possibly a bit of Maori in him. He thought it was a guy in his 40’s that had control of the yacht and they may have originated from Auckland and be returning to there via the Mana Cruising Club.”
Well at least we know who we are dealing with – family orientated and charming it seems – an average nuclear family, no worries here! Although in Wishart’s defence he was interviewing the crew nowadays – time has passed and appearances do to.
Investigation dated 9/1/98.
By the time the police found out the MEA NZ alibi didn’t stack up, on the 12th (doc: 12853), and with revelations of a three-day disguise of the MEA NZ blossoming before their very eyes, and with the extra touches – the obvious enhancements added in by Guy Wallace with his – Manz to Maenz contributions, this was a time to pounce. This wasn’t the time to discard an undeniable cover-up in process, a vital lead, but the police did just that.
As Ian Wishart states, in his book Elementary, regarding the MEA NZ alibi, on pages 224 and 225.
“It is policing 101: follow all leads. This was a boat that Detective Sergeant Wayne Stringer had told his team “this looks like our vessel”. Yet when push came to shove, when police had a clear and disturbing conflict of evidence about its movements, detectives were distracted by something else.”
Yes, Ian Wishart is absolutely correct – the police focus was already relentlessly fixated on Scott Watson. It didn’t matter to the police Anthony Kiernan stated (doc: 10133) on the 10th of January, he also witnessed MEA NZ at Furneaux Lodge – on New Years Day, the police didn’t even bother to follow up with this report. After the police received the fax from Port Marlborough NZ Limited (doc: 12853) they had clear documentation from Port Marlborough that indisputably conflicted with the receipt handed in by Susan Hartley, and also, it indisputably conflicted with David Hartley’s version of events, from his statement, also. This would be – the perfect time to chase a promising lead, but the police did absolutely nothing, and to make matters worse, when another witness David Furneaux (doc: 10560), on the 15th of January, also stated that his wife had seen a boat that wasn’t on the police boating list, a boat of interest similar to ‘Meanza’, the police had already decided to drop the MEA NZ inquiry altogether, to focus on their ultimate goal: Scott Watson – not giving two hoots that a boat name similar to ‘Meanza’ was witnessed at Furneaux Lodge, and had evaded the police official boating list! Talk about bad policing, bad policing 101.
On page 224, of Elementary, Ian Wishart states:
“It is possible, then, based on the evidence in the police files, that MEA could have been at Furneaux on New Year’s Eve. But if that is the case then it appears either the skipper is wrong, or alternatively the Furneaux witnesses are wrong.”
Ian Wishart is correct; there is enough evidence in the police files, that not only exposes John Goulter and Rob Pope’s true knowledge of the MEA NZ, but also, there is very real and tangible evidence that MEA NZ was at Furneaux Lodge over New Years Eve 97/98. This is extremely serious, and of great importance, the police had a crucial lead 18 years ago, and they let it go, for the sake of ‘a conviction’, never mind a vital lead, never mind Ben and Olivia – ‘a conviction’ to the police, was of more importance.
Sometimes with a case as big and as complex as this, we come back to the same old reoccurring story, at the end of the day – it’s easier to get one man convicted, than it is to do the seriously hard and dangerous job, of cutting the head off the snake. It is well known the NZ Police have a reputation, in quite a few major cases, of serious misconduct, having innocent people being found guilty and convicted of crimes they never committed. Although, are we really that surprised?
Ronald Farrell was the person who changed MEA NZ (a sloop) into MAE NZ (a fictitious ketch), it was Detective Sergeant Wayne Stringer who recorded Farrell’s initial job sheet, who was “most interested in Mea New Zealand” in Silent Evidence (page 91). Wayne Stringer knew of these name changes by Ronald Farrell, and behind the scenes instigated an investigation to hunt that boat down! Ronald Farrell’s co-worker Guy Wallace then came along afterwards and said the name Maenz ‘triggered in his head’ as a possible name for the ketch. To anyone logically processing this information this looks like a desperate panicked cover-up is in process of the MEA NZ, by Furneaux Lodge staff, which the police knew about!
Again, we have to wonder – why has Goulter and Pope allowed MEA NZ (on pages 91/108) and its subsequent name change Maenz (pages 88/89) to be completely disconnected from each other in their book, when evolution of this MEA NZ/Maenz name change is, directly and irrefutably linked, if they are not covering it up themselves?
In Silent Evidence, Mea New Zealand, on pages 91/108, is made out to be a completely separate vessel to the mystery ketch Maenz, on pages 88/89, when it is one and the same. Somehow it doesn’t just look like the Furneaux Lodge staff are covering up evidence, it looks like Detective Inspector Rob Pope is covering up evidence himself.
On page 224, of Elementary, Ian Wishart states:
“In the book Silent Evidence, it is reported:
“Another boat discounted was the Mea New Zealand, which was found to have been booked in at the Picton ferry terminal until 1 January.”
But based on the information in their own files, police should have known this may not have been true. They had witnesses saying MEA had been at Furneaux that night, they had a skipper denying this and claiming to have an alibi, and police failed to chase down that alibi to see if it stood up to scrutiny.”
Ian Wishart is absolutely correct again, when writing Silent Evidence the police must have known the MEA NZ alibi they were promoting was insufficient, so why did John Goulter and Rob Pope promote this alibi in their book, as being legitimate, when they categorically knew, it wasn’t? Did Rob Pope have something to say, a small irk, a slight frustration perhaps, nothing like writing a little piece of Silent Evidence to uplift the weight upon one’s shoulders, or to have the last say. It is clearly obvious the words and sentences in Silent Evidence are written with insight, as if the name of the book is of a literal connotation.
Rob Pope was clearly fascinated with MEA NZ; David Hartley, the owner of MEA NZ took the stand, at the High Court Trial but for no apparent reason, only to outline his itinerary, which was wavering and changeable, although, not a surprising revelation. The reasons why David Hartley took the stand are seemingly unknown, he was a pointless addition to the trial, but I hardly think anyone would have noticed, considering it was such a large trial with so many in attendance. Then in 2000 Silent Evidence was published and the light was back on MEA NZ again – but why such a focus, Rob Pope and John Goulter put a significant amount of interest on this vessel, in particular, the investigation into the MEA NZ was never publicised beforehand, this was the first time Rob Pope allowed the public to see snippets of their investigation, and the MEA NZ in Silent Evidence was nicely emphasised, lets just say Rob Pope didn’t forget to mention them. And under close scrutiny there does seem to be, as John Goulter states, an untold story simmering just under the surface, that these two know about.
Lets have a look at the “facts” and “details” in Silent Evidence under a microscope, and see what is really going on. If you are a perceptive person, you will see serious anomalies off the bat. For example: in the book Silent Evidence the ‘mystery ketch’ Maenz was never found, but in the police files Detective Tom Fitzgerald admits in Wallace’s video interview doc: 12635, (between pages 95 and 97) that they, the police, found the Maenz, he even spelt out the name M-A-E-N-Z. Tom Fitzgerald was obviously referring to the MEA NZ ‘the real vessel’ they had found the day before. So obviously the Maenz John Goulter is referring to was found, and is truly the MEA NZ! It beggars belief that John Goulter and Rob Pope – with all his emphasis on “facts” and “details” had the audacity to represent MEA NZ and Maenz as two separate boats, purposely, when they obviously knew it was one vessel. So obviously something is amiss, and if you study carefully the written word in Silent Evidence, every subtle inconsistency adds up, to the point – of no return.
Usually the likes of the FBI will analyse words and sentence phrasing to get an insight into the psychology of a perpetrator, usually when dealing with ransom notes or cryptic messages left at crime scenes. I will use the same techniques to analyse the strange yet revealing sentences in Silent Evidence, although this time the shoe is on the other foot – this time the perpetrators are the NZ Government and NZ Police, it isn’t at all surprising underhanded tactics were used to secure a conviction with Scott Watson, would it be that hard to believe Rob Pope and his team were underhanded in other areas? If you are an informed person, you will know corruption and conspiracy go hand in hand, this is nothing new, governments have been conspiring for eons, but when ignorance and docility is common place and prevalent in minds of the masses, governments will always get away with the most heinous acts – the cover-up of the MEA NZ being just one of them.
If the reader, of this site, has a natural inclination to grasp corruption (undisclosed MEA NZ police files) and conspiracy (the Silent Evidence written word) hand in hand and side by side, you will ‘see’ an extraordinary revelation, hidden on the pages, right before your very eyes, in Silent Evidence, a lead, a lead of vital importance, hidden for 18 long years, and 18 years too long.
THE UNCOVERING AND DISSECTION OF CRITICAL INFORMATION WRITTEN IN THE BOOK SILENT EVIDENCE – ‘red flags’ the reader should detect without the help of undisclosed police files.
Red Flag1) Why did Goulter even mention this boat MEA NZ in Silent Evidence if this vessel was discounted from the inquiry? What is the point of highlighting this vessel, putting emphasis on this boat, dedicating a whole paragraph to it (on page 91), if this vessel, in the end, is irrelevant to the case, what is the point?
Every vessel that had been at Furneaux Lodge besides Watson’s boat Blade had been discounted, and there were many, but these boats never achieved the prominence that MEA NZ achieved in the book (and MEA NZ, in the end, according to the police, hadn’t even been at Furneaux Lodge) why has Goulter and Pope given this boat the oxygen and ‘mention’ it really doesn’t deserve?
LOGICAL CONCLUSION – MEA NZ was emphasised by John Goulter and Rob Pope because the vessel had been at Furneaux Lodge on New Years Eve (the police statements speak for themselves), the skipper lied about their alibi and said they were at the Picton Ferry Terminal instead, the police knew the alibi at the Picton Ferry Terminal was false, but because Scott Watson alone, was the better option to pursue, the police then decided it was best to focus on Scott Watson, therefore, to have the last say, Rob Pope with the help of John Goulter, incorporated a vital lead, they once had, in a book, predictably named Silent Evidence.
Red Flag2) John Goulter started a whole new paragraph with MEA NZ (on page 91), he started the paragraph by stating Wayne Stringer had identified boats seen in photos and videos at Furneaux Lodge, the on flow of this subject led to, Goulter announcing, Stringer was ‘most interested’ in a boat called something like Mea New Zealand. Considering MEA NZ was discounted from the inquiry and was found berthed elsewhere, why is Goulter implying Wayne Stringer had seen MEA NZ in photos and videos at Furneaux Lodge?
LOGICAL CONCLUSION – The MEA NZ piece had its own whole paragraph, therefore the beginning sentence of that paragraph, that describes Wayne Stringer’s identification of boats in photos and videos, is immediately attributed to Wayne Stringers interest in the MEA NZ. Wayne Stringer’s interest in boats and vessels in the Furneaux Inlet is dedicated to the paragraph that solely focuses on MEA NZ alone. From Wayne Stringer describing boats in photos and videos and then associating that sentence immediately afterwards with being ‘most interested in MEA NZ’ speaks volumes.
Conclusion – Wayne Stringer has most definitely witnessed MEA NZ in photos or videos at Furneaux Lodge, on either the 31st or 1st, or both.
Red Flag3) Wayne Stringer stated that MEA NZ was “described by the water taxi people as being in about the same position as Wallace describes” (Guy Wallace now being the infamous water taxi driver). Again, how can the water taxi people describe the position of where MEA NZ was situated at Furneaux Lodge, if MEA NZ is actually berthed elsewhere? A boat cannot be in two places at once, so how can the water taxi people describe where the MEA NZ was situated, as John Goulter states, in the Furneaux Inlet, if it wasn’t even there to begin with?
LOGICAL CONCLUSION – Wayne Stringer stated that MEA NZ was “described by the water taxi people as being in about the same position as Wallace describes”- well this can’t happen unless the MEA NZ was at Furneaux Lodge. Basically John Goulter has stated a ‘fact’ – The police have Ronald Farrell’s statements, these statements spurred a massive hunt of the MEA NZ, you retrace Farrell’s statements straight back to the 6th of January, and it leads straight back to MEA NZ at Furneaux Lodge – it is clear cut MEA NZ was at Furneaux Lodge New Years Eve 97/98. The MEA NZ alibi is totally inadequate – the police also have doc: 12853 that concludes MEA NZ had no proven physical address at the Picton Ferry Terminal for the 29th, 30th, and 31st and for the night of the 31st. Conclusion – The police know 100% MEA NZ was at Furneaux Lodge on New Years and not at the Picton Ferry Terminal.
Red Flag4) Why did Detective Sergeant Wayne Stringer get his team to alert Maritime Safety, Customs and Interpol about MEA NZ to try to pin the boat down? Don’t you have to have considerable ‘evidence’ that there is something extremely suspicious going on, to go to these extremes? Wayne Stringer went to great lengths to track this boat down, why? On page 108 MEA NZ was eventually discounted from the inquiry because it had actually been berthed in Picton all along, so how did Wayne Stringer get to the point of actually getting his team to alert Maritime Safety, Customs and Interpol? Such a severe drastic move considering Wayne Stringer was apparently, according to Goulter and Pope, absolutely wrong with his initial concern regarding MEA NZ. Why did Wayne Stringer sound the alarm then, if there wasn’t really a definitive lead in the first place?
LOGICAL CONCLUSION – There was a definitive lead, Detective Sergeant Wayne Stringer would never alert Maritime Safety, Customs and Interpol without grave concern, doc 10969 and 20032 amongst others, were in the database, Wayne Stringer was on the MEA NZ case, all spurred on by Ronald Farrell’s statements. This was a big lead; it was clearly obvious the police had something of considerable importance happening, a concealment of sorts that looked incredibly suspect.
Red Flag5) MEA NZ was eventually discounted from the inquiry, the vessel was ruled out of the equation; this vessel had been booked in at the Picton Ferry Terminal all along. Why then did Detective Inspector Rob Pope allow this unusual paragraph (on page 91) to be written? Stringer had instigated a major hunt down of MEA NZ that turned out to be a major mistake, after such an embarrassing bungle chasing a false lead, why tell us about it? Pope had been criticised endlessly, by Gerald Hope and by countless media journalists throughout the whole inquiry, especially regarding his leadership and true motives within the Operation Tam investigation, so why then would Rob Pope allow a botch-up on Stringer’s part to be broadcast publicly in Silent Evidence, for no reason at all? Alerting Maritime Safety, Customs and Interpol about a vessel that turned out to be a false lead is not something you would want to advertise, but Goulter and Pope have done a fine job of advertising this, why?
LOGICAL CONCLUSION – It was never a false lead; it was always a promising lead. The reason why Rob Pope allowed this ‘unusual paragraph’ to be written was because basically, he wanted the last say. It is as simple as that. Rob Pope would never advertise chasing a false lead ever, he was highly criticised throughout the actual investigation itself, but as time passed, and the embers had died down, he felt comfortable enough to warrant having the last say, within a book, a book, masquerading as a tribute to Ben and Olivia. Rob Pope wanted to emphasise the MEA NZ –adding in the Maritime Safety, Customs and Interpol line-up – this is emphasising the importance of how crucial this boat was. Rob Pope is silently letting the crew of the MEA NZ know “we had you, just letting you know”.
Red Flag6) MEA NZ was discounted from the inquiry, on page 108, because it had been “found to have been booked in” at the Picton Ferry Terminal. As soon as it was determined MEA NZ was at the Picton Ferry Terminal, why didn’t Goulter and Pope explain how it was possible Wayne Stringer had become ‘most interested’ in MEA NZ after seeing boats in photos and videos at Furneaux Lodge? Or why the water taxi people from Furneaux Lodge had accidentally or mistakenly described where the MEA NZ was situated? If MEA NZ was booked in at the Picton Ferry Terminal, then Wayne Stringer and some water taxi people (whoever they are??) at Furneaux Lodge got it seriously wrong, why then didn’t Goulter and Pope correct this misconception, and show some decency to the innocent crew, that Goulter and Pope were now advertising, on page 108? They discounted the vessel easy enough, on page 108, but boy Goulter had a good time ramping up their importance previously, on page 91, didn’t he?
Why has Goulter and Pope even implied Wayne Stringer saw MEA NZ in photos or videos, if it wasn’t even true? Why even tell us the water taxi people at Furneaux Lodge described the position of where MEA NZ was situated, if, in the end, it was a monumental mistake? Surely Goulter and Pope could ‘explain’ how Stringer and the ‘water taxi people’ at Furneaux Lodge got it so wrong, but for some reason Goulter and Pope don’t explain a single thing. If anything, all they have left us with is a bunch of conflicting reports, and these conflicting reports have allowed MEA NZ (on pages 91 and 108) conveniently, to be in two places at once (Furneaux Lodge and the Picton Ferry Terminal), so what is Goulter and Pope cryptically trying to tell us then, in their book Silent Evidence?
LOGICAL CONCLUSION – Conflicting reports, by Goulter, allow MEA NZ, to be in two places at once, but without any explanation as to how this is physically possible? It would seem John Goulter and Rob Pope have had reason to leave out vital information from their book – every so often someone’s true motive is revealed, not by what they say, but by what they don’t say. This is clearly evident here, undisclosed police files, only ever previously published by Ian Wishart, expose information John Goulter and Rob Pope have kept private from the public – an irrefutable link between MEA NZ and Maenz, which behind the scenes reveal a bamboozled desperate attempt to cover-up the MEA NZ, who were secretly at Furneaux Lodge, on New Years Eve 97/98.
Red Flag7) Why did Goulter state Wayne Stringer was “most interested in a boat called something like Mea New Zealand”. This is very odd, this vessel was found to have been booked in at the Picton Ferry Terminal, obviously the police found the boat, as it was discounted from the inquiry, therefore they would know the correct name and spelling of this vessel, why has Goulter taken this blasé approach in naming this vessel? It is either called Mea New Zealand or not, why has Goulter stated it was called “something like Mea New Zealand”? Is it just me or is this extremely peculiar? John Goulter is a professional journalist yet he is being exceedingly sloppy to say the least, the police would know the correct name and spelling of this vessel, why has Goulter in a casually vague fashion stated it was called “something like Mea New Zealand” – especially when they know it is definitively MEA NZ?
LOGICAL CONCLUSION – John Goulter presented the vessel as “something like Mea New Zealand”. If he had presented it as MEA NZ (as its true name doc: 10167, 10156, 10147) then Goulter wouldn’t have had a reason to write “something like” to begin with. Why extend a name for no reason (lengthening it to – Mea New Zealand?). There is always a reason to why you would complicate a name on purpose, maybe to hide it from its derivative Maenz, on pages 88 and 89? John Goulter knew he was changing the name noticeably; because he wrote beforehand “something like” – this was a premeditated conscious decision, you don’t write ‘something like’ if you are not intentionally mucking around with the name you are attributing that comment to, do you?
Maenz was being advertised, by Goulter and Pope, as a different boat to the Mea New Zealand, but we can clearly see in the police files Maenz is derived from MEA NZ, and is one and the same. MEA NZ was at Furneaux Lodge on the night of the 31st to the 1st – and from one witness account, it eventually transformed into a ketch called Maenz – the police categorically knew without a doubt Ronald Farrell’s statements were the result of a cover-up of the MEA NZ, but kept this vital information to themselves, although found a way of expressing their knowledge through a book highlighting facets of the case, that underneath reveal a massive cover-up of the MEA NZ, intentionally hidden by Rob Pope and John Goulter, in their book Silent Evidence.
Red Flag8) On page 108, MEA NZ was discounted from the inquiry because it had been “found to have been booked in” at the Picton Ferry Terminal. This is technically true the crew of the MEA NZ on the 10th of January 1998, produced a receipt proving they had been ‘booked in’ at the Picton Ferry Terminal for two days presumably covering the nights of the 30 and the 31st of December 1997. This proves they were “found to have been booked in” at the Picton Ferry Terminal – John Goulter is correct, but I have to say this is very precise writing by John Goulter, because I am quite sure both John Goulter and Rob Pope know their alibi was false.
LOGICAL CONCLUSION – John Goulter stated MEA NZ was ‘booked in’ at the Picton Ferry Terminal, but like Ian Wishart once said to me, being ‘booked in’ at the Picton Ferry Terminal is one thing, actually being there, is another. Conclusion – no boat can be in two places at once, but being ‘booked in’ according to Goulter means just that, this is not an alibi, but a declaration that a vessel was ‘booked in’ – it determines a booking only (a flimsy receipt), and Rob Pope and John Goulter both know this, hence their precise writing skills.
Red Flag9) If the vessel Mea New Zealand on pages 91 and 108 is connected in any way to the name Maenz, the name Guy Wallace thought could be the name of the mystery ketch, on pages 88 and 89, do the police know this, because both of these vessels are advertised as two separate boats, one found and one not found, and if the police do have information that these two vessels are connected, why haven’t they told us about this connection in their book?
LOGICAL CONCLUSION – John Goulter and Rob Pope clearly know MEA NZ and Maenz are connected, but have not revealed this in their book. On page 88 Goulter wrote, of Guy Wallace “He had mentioned Maenz as a possible name of the ketch, but he wasn’t sure.” But then on page 89 Goulter practically repeats the same sentence again “This time Wallace remembered the name as the Maenz or something similar.” By repeating the same sentence twice, you are emphasising it, usually writers will do this, to get certain information locked into the mind of the reader, or if the sentence is of importance. When you repeat a sentence twice there is a reason – to either make a point, or to highlight it – an emphasis. Maenz was a name that was significant to the storyline John Goulter was trying to articulate, it had meaning. The fact Rob Pope and John Goulter have ‘not’ told the reader MEA NZ and Maenz are one and the same, yet are dedicating full paragraphs and repetitive messages about this ‘one’ vessel, but are parading them as ‘two’ – two separate vessels, two separate components, in the Silent Evidence storyline, is evidence in itself John Goulter and Rob Pope are hiding something, a cover-up that they know about, but had to let go of, to secure a ‘lone wolf’ conviction, the conviction of Scott Watson. The MEA NZ slipped the net, they got away – the police knew one ‘sole conviction’ was always the best way to tidy up the edges – to keep the case nicely contained. Scott Watson was, without doubt, the perfect target.
Summing this up is pretty easy, although the truth can hurt – the book Silent Evidence basically was one massive sham, not a memorial tribute to Ben and Olivia, but a way in which Rob Pope could flex his muscles and ‘rub in the fact’ he had an exceptionally good lead, but decided to stitch Watson up instead. This is an extremely predictable situation, hardly shocking, if anything it is extremely fitting, with how we the public perceive the police, and the police culture we are now accustomed to.
And conspiracies, conspiracies are considered to be ‘make believe’ type scenarios, usually controlled by the CIA or whatever. Well a conspiracy is only successful if it remains just that – a conspiracy, if it gets revealed to be more than, then it is not a conspiracy any longer. There is no conspiracy with the written word in Silent Evidence; it’s just two morons, Goulter and Pope, covering up an intentional cover-up of the MEA NZ, by Furneaux Lodge staff. With police files flying around revealing this very serious cover-up, I can’t determine if it was Dumb or Dumber who decided to go ahead with this predictably named book Silent Evidence riddled with what seems to be clear evidence that both Goulter and Pope know a lot more than they are leading on, and by their own admission and stupidity, have allowed us to see, in Silent Evidence, their ruthless deception firsthand.
With the Silent Evidence content side by side with the undisclosed police files, Goulter and Pope do a very good job of outing themselves quite nicely, it is clearly obvious the idiots involved in this concealment are not just allocated to Furneaux Lodge staff, but also, to the NZ Police themselves, and of course, a journalist named John Goulter, writing this book, within the pinnacle itself – within the Prime Ministers Office. For Jenny Shipley’s sake, a lockdown on these files would have been a wise move, but then again politicians have never been known for their pearls of wisdom, have they? This case is full of stupid idiots, and with that said – it is possible that this case can be solved, and for Ben and Olivia’s sake, two truly deserving souls, I truly hope it is.
Warning: Do not trust any high profile investigative journalists, independent, or otherwise, in NZ. Also, just because I have supported Ian Wishart with his MEA NZ concerns, this does not automatically mean I agree with him on other issues he has raised or written about, regarding this case.
Written and researched by Alexandra Elizabeth Moore.