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Scott Watson freed to attend mother's funeral

Wednesday 19 Dec 2012 1:10 p.m.

Scott Watson at Christchurch District Court (Getty, 1998)

Scott Watson at Christchurch District Court (Getty, 1998)

Convicted double murderer Scott Watson has been freed from prison to attend his mother's funeral.

Bev Watson, who had leukaemia and suffered a series of strokes, died on Friday and her funeral was held in Christchurch on Wednesday morning.

Watson, 42, is serving a life sentence, with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years, for murdering Ben Smart and Olivia Hope in January 1998. He denies the killings.

The Corrections Department initially declined Watson's request to attend the funeral, citing the pressure media would put on staff.

Watson took the department to the High Court on Tuesday and in a decision released after Wednesday's funeral, Justice John Fogarty said Watson should be allowed to attend, at his own cost.

There were a number of conditions imposed, such as travelling directly between Rolleston Prison and the chapel and not conversing with members of the public, although he would be allowed to read a poem to the congregation.

He was to be handcuffed while moving between the prison van and chapel.

A Corrections spokeswoman said it did not comment on individual prisoners, but did say it was not investigating any incidents in Christchurch on Wednesday morning.

Media were not permitted to attend the funeral.

NZN

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