The Guy verdict

July 3rd, 2012 at 4:02 pm by David Farrar

The jury has found not guilty of the murder of , his brother-in-law.

I am not surprised with the verdict, as the prosecution was circumstantial and there was no direct proof.

Having said that, my view is that on balance of probabilities Macdonald probably did it. Not guilty just means not guilty beyond reasonable doubt. The timing of the killing at 5 am makes it incredibly unlikely to be a random killing, and Macdonald’s history of criminal acts against Guy was persuasive, but not obviously beyond reasonable doubt.

Macdonald has avoided a life sentence. But I suspect he will not be attending any Christmas parties with the Guy family in the future.

My thoughts go out especially to the Guy family. It must be awful for them, not to have a conclusion to Scott’s murder.

 

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159 Responses to “The Guy verdict”

  1. davidp (3,556 comments) says:

    Can they now charge him with arson and a whole host of other crimes that he has confessed to?

    [DPF: He is awaiting sentencing on them]

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  2. queenstfarmer (754 comments) says:

    The jury came to the correct decision – not proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

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  3. Harriet (4,614 comments) says:

    The only place he’ll be having xmas dinner – is at Bains. :cool:

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  4. Scott Hamilton (297 comments) says:

    We need Shakespeare to explain this case
    http://www.readingthemaps.blogspot.co.nz/2012/06/dozens-of-murder-trials-are-staged-in.html

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  5. Dean Papa (775 comments) says:

    heh. The sociopath did it alright. Yet another sh!t-for-brains jury.

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  6. wreck1080 (3,794 comments) says:

    I don’t understand why the cops attempted to prosecute until better evidence was available. Did the family push them to prosecute?

    There was no way they could secure a conviction based on the evidence I heard.

    I think there is only a 1/3 chance McDonald did it. There was no evidence bought that indicated McDonald was prone to violence. Sure, he is guilty of property damage but it’s a long stretch to assume this makes him a murderer.

    The shotgun evidence was absurd — it had dna of both men on it. Regardless this proved nothing.

    The dive boots evidence was pathetic too.

    I think the cops need to look at themselves again on this one.

    Will they have another trial for the arson and vandalism?

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  7. Short Shriveled and Slightly to the Left (772 comments) says:

    @ Dean and what key bit of evidence would you have convicted him on?

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  8. rolla_fxgt (311 comments) says:

    I was suprised it seems to be a unaminous decsion.

    I would have been qestioning why McDonald wasn’t put on the stand, not saying it wasn’t his right not to speak. But it always looks a little dodgy when someone doesn’t speak in their own defence.

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  9. Jimbob (641 comments) says:

    What is in the water in Wellington? This is just unbelievable.

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  10. Longknives (4,676 comments) says:

    Definition of ‘Unlucky’- You are acting like a fucking psychopath and the person you are stalking and terrorising, vandalising and burning his property, gets murdered.
    And you are the ONLY suspect.

    Man that’s ‘unlucky’…

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  11. Short Shriveled and Slightly to the Left (772 comments) says:

    didnt he plead guilty to the vandalism and arson already?

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  12. TheContrarian (1,081 comments) says:

    “I am not surprised with the verdict, as the prosecution was circumstantial and there was no direct proof.”

    Yeah, no surprises here.

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  13. kowtow (7,914 comments) says:

    Correct me if i’m wrong but you are innocent in our systm ,until proven beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty.

    The emphasis in DPFs text above is all wrong.

    [DPF: Innocence until proven guilty is about criminal sanctions, not about opinions]

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  14. superflynz (14 comments) says:

    “better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer” – William Blackstone, c1760

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  15. OTGO (523 comments) says:

    So where now for Ewen Macdonald? I bet he isn’t getting the farm anytime soon. And will his wife remain his wife? Lot of water to run under the bridge yet methinks especially with the stuff he has agreed to.
    Personally I think he did it or arranged to have it done. He lived next door so knew Scott Guy’s movements and he had a motive.

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  16. Longknives (4,676 comments) says:

    Interesting reaction in Court from Scott Guy’s widow…

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  17. tknorriss (327 comments) says:

    Yeah.

    I have been following this fairly closely, and from what I have read I couldn’t have convicted him either.

    Two main points for me:

    1. The boot prints that didn’t match the boot sample in the court. The Crown argued strongly that the prints were from a very specific boot that matched the sample they produced in court. The credibility of this evidence fell to pieces when the tread patterns didn’t match, and it was fairly vital for placing MacDonald at the scene of the crime.

    2. There was the other farm worker who also didn’t like Guy. There was quite a lot of evidence that could have incriminated him. This provided a credible counter-scenario. Given that, reasonable doubt had to apply.

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  18. thedavincimode (6,589 comments) says:

    OTGO

    He will do some time for the arson and vandalism, maybe, and then have absolutely no trouble getting another job because he is a top flight dairy farm manager by all accounts.

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  19. Longknives (4,676 comments) says:

    John Campbell will be positively salivating over the prospect of an ‘exclusive’ interview with Ewen MacDonald- Considering he bloody nearly dropped to his knees and performed fellatio on the similarly ‘innocent’ David Bain…

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  20. Nookin (3,176 comments) says:

    “Dean and what key bit of evidence would you have convicted him on?”

    Evidence is an optional extra on KB. If you start arguing evidence people think you are a geek or anal. Most decisions/indictments/plaudits are based on pure, unadulterated bigotry. It’s called getting it off your chest.

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  21. Nookin (3,176 comments) says:

    Longknives

    He may have to wait. If he is awaiting sentence on arson and wilful damage he won’t be chumming with Campbell or Sainsbury tonight.

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  22. rouppe (940 comments) says:

    There are all manner of other alternatives in that sort of rural environment.

    How about drugs being grown on the farm with gang involvement, and Scott was against it. Could easily have been a gang hit either aided (via information) by McDonald or not.

    The shoes did it for me. Unbelieveable that the number of tread marks wasn’t checked by the prosecution forensic scientist. You can make the size of the imprint bigger with foot rolling, but you can’t magically add tread. The shotgun evidence as well, trying to convince that three quick shots can come from a double-barrel…

    He’s a nasty shit, no doubt, but if we could convict on that Mallard and Cunliffe would already be in jail.

    As far as the future is concerned, the arson etc will trigger an instant divorce, and since the farm was handed to the Guy children, McDonald will be out of that picture, though the Matrimonial Property Act applies to men just as much as women

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  23. Jimbob (641 comments) says:

    I live in a farming district and not one person I have talked to think this guy is not guilty. You have to be an outdoor person to know that the information needed to carry out this act, Macdonald was really the only candidate. Only a bunch of townies could come up with this verdict. The Guy family not only lost their son, but they now know the killer has got off scott free. They must be as low as anybody possibly can be.

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  24. metcalph (1,401 comments) says:

    In addition to wot TKnorriss said

    3. Ewen had an alibi for the time of death. The crown attempted to get around it by saying he could have ridden there on a bike. But there was no tread for the bike at the crime scene and a tyre tread for a car they never managed to find.

    4. The shotgun evidence was also flakey. Given that two witnesses heard three shots in rapid succession, the crown was on a loser in trying to say that the murder weapon was a double barreled shotgun.

    5. I wasn’t impressed with the allegation that Ewen McDonald drowned the puppies in an effluent pond.

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  25. peterwn (3,205 comments) says:

    rolla_fxgt – ‘I would have been qestioning why McDonald wasn’t put on the stand’ Juries are warned not to let this influence verdicts.

    Media reports did not clarify whether he was set free – he could presumably be held in custody until sentenced on the other matters, but again he may have effectively served these sentences.

    kowtow – A ‘not guilty’ verdict does not confirm innocence. Kylie could (but is extremely unlikely to) sue Ewen for damages and succeed if she could prove on the balance of probabilities that he did it. Whether David Bain gets compensation following his acquittal turns on a similar point – can he show on balance of probabilities that he did not do it.

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  26. Scott (1,736 comments) says:

    “better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer” – William Blackstone, c1760
    Never could stand that phrase. Always seemed wrong to me.

    Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent– the LORD detests them both. Proverbs 17:15

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  27. thedavincimode (6,589 comments) says:

    metcalph

    You provide a timely reminder that the puppies are the forgotten victims in this sorry saga. :(

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  28. paul henry (49 comments) says:

    Another horrible verdict to annoy the country for years to come.

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  29. Dean Papa (775 comments) says:

    @ metcalph you’re on first names terms with the sociopath? -pass me the chunder bucket please!

    @ rouppe how’s it in fairyland?

    @ jimbob at least there’s one sane poster here!

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  30. thedavincimode (6,589 comments) says:

    Never let the evidence get in the way of the verdict Dean. Good man.

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  31. Nookin (3,176 comments) says:

    “Another horrible verdict to annoy the country for years to come.”

    I suspect the same comment would have been made had he been convicted.

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  32. calendar girl (1,202 comments) says:

    “The Guy family not only lost their son, but they now know the killer has got off scott free.”

    An unfortunate turn of phrase …… “scott free”.

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  33. RRM (9,633 comments) says:

    What does the Octopus think?

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  34. tknorriss (327 comments) says:

    Another point is that the crown on one hand tried to paint MacDonald as incredibly cunning (managing to eliminate nearly all evidence that linked him to the crime), and on the other hand they tried to paint him as incredibly stupid (correcting people about Guy being shot rather than cut). This contradiction probably didn’t help their case.

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  35. kowtow (7,914 comments) says:

    “Not guilty just means not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”

    That is not a statement about opinion,it is a statemnet about our legal system.

    As I said.you are innocent until proven guilty,and guilty is what must be beyond a reasonable doubt,not innocence.

    Under our system this man is innocent.

    peterwn
    not guilty does mean innocent. If you don’t like the verdict that’s your problem.
    Bain and compo….different criteria to a criminal trial.Probability is diffferent to beyond a reasonable doubt.

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  36. OTGO (523 comments) says:

    Yeah RRM, what does David Garret think?

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

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  37. Nookin (3,176 comments) says:

    “Yeah RRM, what does David Garret think?”

    Most of them think he’s “not-proven” guilty. Quite a few think he’s guilty. Some are undecided.

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  38. Nostalgia-NZ (5,026 comments) says:

    From what Bryan Guy has said he expects that his daughter will re-unite with her husband and he’ll support that. So the meat heads in here are howling at the moon. Jimbob reckons he’s talking for farmers but he’s not talking for Bryan Guy that’s for sure.

    tknorris 4.46 That contradiction certainly didn’t help the case nor did the information about the farm hand who said ‘he’d be back on the tractor now,’ after Scott’s death or the p freak burglar convicted on the theft of cigarettes of the type the packet on the driveway matched. Longknives reckons above EM was the only suspect figure that out.

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  39. stu-tron (43 comments) says:

    Concerned with the types of cases in NZ where apparently we can’t seem to find anyone guilty. Wipe out your family, kill your workmate, kill your kids (multiple) and apparently no one committed the crimes. The fact that there is never any other major suspect subsequently charged(so it’s not like the police have it totally wrong and down the track they actually find the real killer) means that the police have the right suspects but aren’t compiling a robust enough case.

    Like most people I’m fairly convinced MacDonald did it but also not surprised at all the jury found him not guilty – this does really point to the crown having made a poor decision to charge him when they did. The Bain case on the other hand shocked me that the jury found him not guilty – I thought the evidence did actually prove beyond reasonable doubt.

    The cases of child abuse resulting in death where ‘no one did it’ still ranks above these as abhorant failures of our justice system.

    Greens should call for a review of the Macdonald case – ha!.

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  40. thedavincimode (6,589 comments) says:

    lol RRM

    edit: isn’t it dead? Was it murdered?

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  41. Roflcopter (446 comments) says:

    3 gunshots…. 1st shot, combined 2nd shot + 1st shot echo, 2nd shot echo.

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  42. superflynz (14 comments) says:

    @Scott 4:34pm

    Fair call, although there is merit in Blackstone’s ratio for the lay person to consider themselves as ‘the one innocent person’.

    Wikipedia tells me that Genesis 18:23-32 also had something similar:

    “Abraham drew near, and said, “Will you consume the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous within the city? Will you consume and not spare the place for the fifty righteous who are in it? … What if ten are found there?” He [The Lord] said, “I will not destroy it for the ten’s sake.”

    This must be right. Although, Bismarck and Pol Pot didn’t feel the same…

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  43. Nookin (3,176 comments) says:

    “Under our system this man is innocent. ”

    Under or legal system this man has not been found guilty to the requisite standard and therefore no criminal sanctions can be imposed.

    If Kylee took out a full page ad saying he was guilty and he sued in defamation but failed in the face of a “truth” defence, would you say he is innocent?

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  44. thedavincimode (6,589 comments) says:

    No, I would say he has a big bill and nothing to pay it with.

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  45. big bruv (13,548 comments) says:

    What the fuck is the matter with juries in this country?

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  46. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    What a nightmare ordeal for Kylee… I’m sure she has fantastic support, boy she’ll need it.

    But… the justice system is what it is. Without proof, one can not be convicted. Behaviorally Ewen made a good number of slip-ups but these are not likely to be enough to convict these days, when you consider the sort of implausible scenarios the Bain jury gave benefit of the doubt to.

    I thought Greg King’s summing up was way too over the top and made Ewen’s case sound more desperate than it needed to be. The reality is that Ewen (if he did indeed do it) was able to cover it up well and destroy any evidence relating to him, or the police simply weren’t able to find anything they could use.

    So at the end of the day, without at least one physical slip-up to leave some evidence behind, you can get away with murder. Happy Dayz.

    I wonder what sort of prison sentence you get for stealing neighbour’s livestock, arson and vandalism? Is it possible that considering the amount of time Ewen has been behind bars awaiting trial that he could be out soon?

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  47. Scott Chris (5,960 comments) says:

    Yeah, looks like he got away with it. Probably. Surprises me that the crown didn’t have specific manufacturer’s data specifiying the tread pattern and spacing on the proline boot range sold in 2004:

    Neale told the Court he determined boot impressions by measuring the width of the heel and forefoot, which determined the more than 50 footprints next to Guy’s body were size 9.

    However, King said there was between 32 and 33 rows of waves on the plaster impressions, more than the size-9 Proline boot in evidence.

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  48. Dazzaman (1,130 comments) says:

    I too believe he did it but also feel the crown didn’t have a good enough case to nail him.

    From an admittedly distanced POV I think the jury were reasonably likely to not convict…they did a good job with what was in front of them.

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  49. mara (750 comments) says:

    Greg King … take a bow. Whatever coin came your way with this brief, you earned it.

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  50. F E Smith (3,314 comments) says:

    I don’t understand why the jury is being criticised here. Everyone seems to agree that there was insufficient evidence to convict, so why the bile towards the jury? Are those people indulging in such comments wanting juries to begin convicting on suspicion rather than being sure that the accused committed the crime?

    Perhaps we should remove the premise of innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt and bring in a balance of probabilities requirement for proof, or even require the defendant to prove his/her innocence? It would certainly result in more convictions?

    Myself, I tend to think that this is a prime example of a jury doing exactly what we ask of them. To consider the case and decide whether or not the Crown has met its burden of proof. That, after all, is the point of the trial.

    Going to trial with insufficient evidence is never a good thing, for the deceased’s family or for the accused person. It is always preferable for the Police to wait until they really do have enough evidence before they charge. Of course, when they do that they are criticised for not charging someone quickly enough.

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  51. MT_Tinman (3,043 comments) says:

    big bruv (10,401) Says:
    July 3rd, 2012 at 5:03 pm
    What the fuck is the matter with juries in this country?

    Based on what I have read recently – nothing!

    Nothing at all.

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  52. Fisiani (991 comments) says:

    A Scottish jury would have returned a verdict of Not Proven.
    Scotland has three verdict options.

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  53. Fisiani (991 comments) says:

    Also in Scotland the case would never have gone to trial as the Police do not prosecute.

    The prosecutor is the Prosecutor Fiscal who is independent.

    The fiscal only goes to court when there is enough evidence.

    Here the police take it to court and hope to convince the jury.

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  54. Eisenhower (137 comments) says:

    Jury system is fatally flawed. Are they all going to go and party with him now? Disgusting!

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  55. iMP (2,333 comments) says:

    The shoe thing is irrelevant, McDonald a size ten could easily wear a size 12 in mud, especially a dive boot. My own feeling is McDonald did it, or paid someone else, he demonstrates a suppressed psychopathic personality based on his bizarre and weird behaviour re the two prize stags stolen from another neighbour, dismembered and buried, the vandalism, the graffiti, the notes, the protracted secret harassment of several years all hidden from his wife.

    The farm worker was give 12 months for his involvement, I suspect the Judge will crank that up with the deer on top for McDonald, so he’ll defin. see time.

    Then the inhouse prison system will administer some justice.

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  56. Dean Papa (775 comments) says:

    NZ police are hopeless, they only got a conviction in the Lundy trial because of DNA, the timeline of events presented to the jury in that trial was far fetched, to say the least.

    Greg King’s summing up was over the top hollywood cringeworthy, the cretins in the jury must have lapped it up!

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  57. wreck1080 (3,794 comments) says:

    @eisenhower — seems to me they got it right. There was no evidence.

    Cops found someone who didn’t like Guy, and built up a story around that.

    I’m just amazed they thought it would go any other way.

    Maybe one day you will find the cops charging you for the murder of someone you disliked. Under your theory, you should be thrown in jail.

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  58. Nookin (3,176 comments) says:

    “Going to trial with insufficient evidence is never a good thing, for the deceased’s family or for the accused person. It is always preferable for the Police to wait until they really do have enough evidence before they charge.”

    Difficult decision for the police. They must have reached the point when they asked themselves whether it was possible to improve on their case and decided they couldn’t. Do they go ahead or flag it? If they flag it, are they doing anyone a service? Remember — they had this jury debating for 11 hours. Not a marginal call in anyone’s books.

    Maybe they should have drained the pond. Maybe they should have gone to the proline manufacturer.

    I think the writing was on the wall when the judge said that this was not a who-dunnit. The only question was whether Ewen dunnit.

    Looking at it from another angle – this appears to have been a very carefully planned murder. It wasn’t the usual rage and bash affair. There were no traces leading to the murderer. No real clues. Definitiely no smoking gun. Someone wanted Scott dead and went about it very carefully and deliberately.

    If Ewen didn’t do it, then you’ve got to be pretty darn unlucky to have someone else wanting your mortal coil to be shed.

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  59. F E Smith (3,314 comments) says:

    Fisiani,

    to be pedantic, the Scottish prosecutor is actually the Procurator Fiscal, not the Prosecutor Fiscal.

    Eisenhower,

    really? Why is that so?

    iMP,

    and your evidence for him paying someone else to do it is?

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  60. grumpyoldhori (2,416 comments) says:

    Yep by the balance of probability he did it, but what a dumb bastard, kill my brother in law and the farm will come to me.

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  61. F E Smith (3,314 comments) says:

    Nookin,

    I mildly disagree re the jury consideration time. I don’t think 11 hours is that long for a trial of this length. It is really just a day of consideration. If you were to start at 10am then a 9pm finish isn’t unreasonable. I have seen 11 hour considerations after three day trials.

    Re the point about the police charging, I agree that it isn’t an easy decision. However, I personally think that they should have chosen not to prosecute on the evidence. Even if you ask whether a jury could convict on the evidence presented you are not going to do better than 50/50, and that would be generous. Choosing not to prosecute at this time is not the same as deciding never to prosecute. Instead, we have had the expense and stress of a trial that probably should not have taken place, at least at this time.

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  62. Zapper (953 comments) says:

    grumpyoldhori

    It worked for Len Demler

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  63. Jimbob (641 comments) says:

    I doubt Ewen Macdonald’s ex will be running back to him. She is building another house and likes the builder. Also there are allegations Scott found Ewen shagging another Man.

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  64. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    FES
    Re the point about the police charging………………………..

    Talk to the Crown, they have the say when to bin him, people are confused about this, for serious crime, the Crown are hand in hand with the police and when the Crown thinks that the petrol is in the tank, the charge is laid.

    The police just gather the bullets the Crown Prosecutor makes the decision when the trigger is pulled.

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  65. F E Smith (3,314 comments) says:

    PEB,

    You make a fair point that should have made myself. I should have said ‘prosecuting authorities’ rather than just Police. When it comes to a murder, the Crown are in on it from the beginning.

    My point still applies, even with the changed wording. I think that this was just not a good enough case in which to move forward with the evidence that they had. It may have been upsetting to the family not to prosecute at that time, but sometimes that is what you have to do.

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  66. RRM (9,633 comments) says:

    Well I have no idea whether he did it or not. Haven’t been following this one, not particularly interested.

    No doubt we’ll be hearing people’s worldly opinions about what the “obvious” answer was for years to come… great.

    I’m glad my country requires a high standard of proof of guilt before imprisoning people.

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  67. Dave Mann (1,187 comments) says:

    Even though this man ‘probably did it’, it is not really fair to rush about blaming the cops and the prosecutor etc…. you can’t just invent evidence if there is not enough there. Obviously the cops and the Crown thought they had enough to convict, otherwise they wouldn’t have gone ahead with it. The prosecution wouldn’t deliberately go out to make themselves look stupid, surely?

    I think the days of jury trials are probably numbered as there have been so many controversial verdicts from juries. I also think that defendants should be compelled to take the stand and that the right to silence should be abolished.

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  68. Nostalgia-NZ (5,026 comments) says:

    He should never have been charged. The Crown should have at least a sought a semi-independent review of the evidence before proceeding. They were too close to the thought that he must have been guilty because of the arson. They thought he’d confess and when he didn’t they went on ahead anyway with the bs pro-line dive boot nonsense. And I don’t think the evidence of arson etc should have been admitted at the trial either. The Judge said it was admitted to show that MacDonald was proficient at night stalking or similar, but Guy was shot with a shotgun where no accuracy or particular marksman skills were required. They weren’t similar crimes. Good on Greg King and good on the Jury for doing their job carefully and properly in reaching a unanimous verdict.

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  69. Scott Chris (5,960 comments) says:

    Choosing not to prosecute at this time is not the same as deciding never to prosecute. Instead, we have had the expense and stress of a trial that probably should not have taken place, at least at this time.

    Exactly. The decision to prosecute and the prosecution itself seem to be generally inept. Easy to be wise in hindsight but surely they knew that the evidence they had was very thin. Hard to understand.

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  70. F E Smith (3,314 comments) says:

    Dave Mann,

    so many controversial verdicts from juries

    Really?  Of the several hundred jury trials a year, how many of them are “controversial verdicts”? 

     Or do you instead mean “of the ones that the media report on”?

    I also disagree with you on your first point:

    you can’t just invent evidence if there is not enough there. Obviously the cops and the Crown thought they had enough to convict, otherwise they wouldn’t have gone ahead with it.

    The first point statement makes my point again.  What it means is that either the Crown/Police were over optimistic about whether there was enough to convict, or, alternatively, they decided to go for it regardless. 

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  71. grumpyoldhori (2,416 comments) says:

    Zapper true about Demmler but, Scot Guy has a son and wife, might be just a little suspicious if they ended up full of shotgun pellets.

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  72. freemark (509 comments) says:

    I’m happier with this verdict than the Urewera terrorist farce.

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  73. KH (693 comments) says:

    Reasonable post from DPF. However if I had been on the Jury I would have voted, indeed insisted on a guilty verdict.
    If that murderous mad mad man ever shifts in next to me – my house will on the market.
    I saw a little bit of Greg King on the Telly. Every point he insisted on, would have convinced me to the opposite viewpoint. Just not logical Greg. But hey – it works.

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  74. Leaping Jimmy (16,086 comments) says:

    Couple of interesting points raised above. While difficult to assess a case from the media reports, it would seem as others have said there are several things introducing reasonable doubt:

    the 3 shots in quick succession which couldn’t be replicated
    the other worker suggested by defence counsel with similar attributes
    the sole pattern on the diving boots – a proferred explanation above is: “The shoe thing is irrelevant, McDonald a size ten could easily wear a size 12 in mud, especially a dive boot.” – so you mean to throw people off the trail, instead of not wearing a dive boot at all, he chose to wear one but 2 sizes larger? I see. Perhaps you should become a detective, that seems to be how they would think.

    OTOH Jimbob suggests: I live in a farming district and not one person I have talked to think this guy is not guilty. You have to be an outdoor person to know that the information needed to carry out this act, Macdonald was really the only candidate. Only a bunch of townies could come up with this verdict.

    Yep. That seems to be the crux to me. I bet if McDonald was tried by a jury of farmers he’d be facing a mandatory life sentence tonight. OTOH to a townie, those factors above do seem reasonable to suggest a reasonable doubt element. Depends on what a “peer” is, doesn’t it.

    Certainly I think townies would be more ready to accept murder is a huge jump from mere arson etc, especially since McDonald had apparently “made up” by the time it happened. OTOH farmers would probably not see much of a leap at all and certainly wouldn’t readily accept the made up reconciliation argument.

    I would like to see this other person suggested by the defence investigated. Or else more info about this mysterious “sedan.”

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  75. KH (693 comments) says:

    Maybe the police knew they needed more. But also found more was not likely to come to them. Difficult for them, but good on them for doing what they could.

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  76. thedavincimode (6,589 comments) says:

    Easy to be wise in hindsight

    Yes Scott, but you’re so good at it.

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  77. transmogrifier (522 comments) says:

    I’m not surprised. When I read in the paper that the prosecution has rested, all I could think was “Is that it??” I had been expecting them to be working towards some damning evidence, but it was all just superficial and circumstantial…and then they just finished.

    I think he probably did it, but based on the evidence provided to the papers, you couldn’t be sure of it.

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  78. James Stephenson (2,085 comments) says:

    It’s ridiculous that the one person in the room who knows for sure whether he did it, can avoid getting up on the stand.

    The fact that he declined to speak in his own defence tells me all I need to know.

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  79. nickb (3,675 comments) says:

    I live in a farming district and not one person I have talked to think this guy is not guilty.

    Well that provides it then…idiot

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  80. nickb (3,675 comments) says:

    I don’t understand why the jury is being criticised here. Everyone seems to agree that there was insufficient evidence to convict, so why the bile towards the jury? Are those people indulging in such comments wanting juries to begin convicting on suspicion rather than being sure that the accused committed the crime?

    Perhaps we should remove the premise of innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt and bring in a balance of probabilities requirement for proof, or even require the defendant to prove his/her innocence? It would certainly result in more convictions?

    Myself, I tend to think that this is a prime example of a jury doing exactly what we ask of them. To consider the case and decide whether or not the Crown has met its burden of proof. That, after all, is the point of the trial.

    Going to trial with insufficient evidence is never a good thing, for the deceased’s family or for the accused person. It is always preferable for the Police to wait until they really do have enough evidence before they charge. Of course, when they do that they are criticised for not charging someone quickly enough.

    Perfectly put, as always FE.

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  81. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Nostalgia-NZ, I find myself in disagreement.

    Personally I don’t see what particular bias the Crown is supposed to have against any particular citizen that might render them partial to assessing evidence against that citizen. Not only the Police but Macdonald’s own father was of the view that the person responsible for the arson and the vandalism of Guy’s properties was also behind the murder of Guy. Ewen himself agreed to this under police questioning, only changing his view after being forced to admit his involvement in the former. I don’t think anyone can claim objectively those crimes appear totally unrelated (although they might be, which is what we have a trial for).

    IMO the Crown’s biggest problem with the boots was that they didn’t have the actual boots owned by Macdonald. Either fortunately or unfortunately they had been disposed of. Without them, the prints left at the scene were open to various speculation. No one knows for sure exactly what sort of prints those boots would make.

    I imagine the arson evidence was admitted because Ewen used a bicycle to sneak behind his wife’s back and commit a crime in the dark of night. IIRC it was the stealing of the stags that was admitted to illustrate his skills at hunting in the dark and getting close enough to a prey to shoot it before it realized it’s fate.

    Ewen Macdonald himself noted to a farm worker that a shotgun was selected as the murder weapon because they aren’t traceable. If Ewen is correct then accuracy had nothing to do with it – getting away with a murder was the objective. Whether he noted this because he was the murderer or just because he is familiar with firearms is also open to speculation.

    Greg King did an OK job, but the best job of all was done by the murderer who took care of any evidence linking him/her to the crime. This was the clincher of the not guilty verdict more than Mr. King’s work, IMO.

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  82. elscorcho (153 comments) says:

    Scuttlebutt from some cop friends of mine about 6 months ago (or whenever they arrested Macdonald) was that it wouldn’t fly. Op YELLOW (the homicide) pulled in cops from all over the country and they were clutching at straws. DI in charge should update her CV

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  83. nickb (3,675 comments) says:

    I think the days of jury trials are probably numbered as there have been so many controversial verdicts from juries. I also think that defendants should be compelled to take the stand and that the right to silence should be abolished.

    Well thank fucking god you have no say in the matter.

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  84. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    F E Smith,

    He was arrested after admitting the arson and vandalism etc, my guess is the police thought that they would be able to find evidence on the farm from that point onwards.

    Given that he biffed evidence from the vandalism up in Taupo, maybe they were overly optimistic in that respect, but then like you said previously, most crims are not the brightest, right :)

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  85. leftyliberal (642 comments) says:

    david@tokyo: “but the best job of all was done by the murderer who took care of any evidence linking him/her to the crime.”

    Alternatively, the murderer was just lucky that the victim had a brother-in-law that provided an obvious suspect. Once folk convince themselves of “the truth”, it becomes difficult for them to think outside the box.

    The jury did the right thing based on the evidence in the media.

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  86. Positan (384 comments) says:

    Some interesting comments. However most of those who’ve manifested their own beliefs so liberally here were nowhere near the court and, aside from sensationalist news-media coverage wouldn’t remotely have been able to make the same sort of assessment as was the jury.

    It’s a sad indictment of today that so many feel so instantly expert (including DBF, I regret to note) as to be able now to assert opinions differing markedly from the findings of the jury, who’s decision under our system of justice has to be accepted and respected.

    No matter the outcome – no matter the consequences – no matter that the Crown case and police evidence were respectively shown to be lacking and wrong – it is the very foundation of our jury system that the defendant was found “not guilty” – and that is the sole point that matters.

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  87. grumpyoldhori (2,416 comments) says:

    A legal question, if the MacDonald’s divorce it looks like MacDonald would end up getting a handy bit of money.
    Now the double jeopardy rule has been dumped could Kylee Guy take him to the civil court for damages for the murder of her husband ?

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  88. F E Smith (3,314 comments) says:

    nickb,

    cheers muchly.

    david@tokyo,

    I tend to agree with your first point. It isn’t really a satisfactory way to proceed, although it is an understandable one. And there are always exceptions that prove the ‘dumb crim’ rule!

    KH,

    surely if they knew they needed more they should not have prosecuted?

    Caveat: I didn’t follow the trial all that closely. Whenever I did read about it, the evidence never seemed that convincing. What i have read today tends to confirm that view. Therefore, my points/issues/questions are more general than specific. And whether McDonald is guilty or not doesn’t matter to me one bit.

    EDIT: Grumpy,

    I am not a civil litigator, but I don’t think that the double jeopardy rule prevented civil suits anyway. However, the ACC laws might. Someone else will no doubt know the exact answer.

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  89. orewa1 (428 comments) says:

    Sadly the police come out badly from this. They need to reflect. But at least this saves society from having to deal with a martyr in the mould of Bain or Thomas for the next couple of decades.

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  90. Pete George (23,276 comments) says:

    It seems to be fairly widely accepted (except by conclusion jumpers) that there simply wasn’t enough evidence.

    What doesn’t seem to be so widely considered is that not only has McDonald been found not guilty, correctly, is that he could be entirely innocent. There is a real chance of that. If that’s the case all this “but he probably did it” would be a continual kick in the guts for his lifetime if he stays in New Zealand.

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  91. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Positan says..found “not guilty” – and that is the sole point that matters.


    Absolutely correct,- as we all know opinions are like arseholes, we’ve all got one, – but those 11 made the decision so you live with it.

    Personally I loathe the jury system, but its what we ‘ve got so thats it.

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  92. Viking2 (11,244 comments) says:

    Not much fun to be had in McD’s life from now on.
    Happened to be talking to a nearby neighbour this afternoon just after the verdict which he hadn’t heard. Seems there was little doubt in the locals minds.
    Person made the point that he lived between the Lundy’s and the Guys farm and now doesn’t expect many visitors. :lol:

    Looks like Mrs McD has moved on. Her issue now will be custody and visiting rights. Inagine that .

    Still looks like Crown Law needs a clean out. Stuffed this case and Dot coms and a few more lately. Perhaps they should just retire.

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  93. F E Smith (3,314 comments) says:

    Viking2,

    Crown Law wasn’t really involved with this one. This was, I think, the Crown Solicitor for Palmerston North, Ben Vanderkolk, a private firm.

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  94. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Orewa
    How did the police come out badly exactly?, you win some you loose some. nothing more.

    If they has been allowed to torture a confession from someone then, obviously there would have been a different result, but obviously again everyone has acted professionally, it was just a verdict some don’t agree with.

    Thats what the jury system is all about- judged by a jury of your peers although I dont know how many of the jurors were white central district cow cockies.

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  95. Longknives (4,676 comments) says:

    That rather large lady with the sickening smug grin who was gloating and crowing on Sainsbury certainly doesn’t do the legal profession any favours. She was talking about the defence’s ‘victory’ like it was a rugby game.

    Note to Lawyers- A bit of decorum and sensitivity sometimes wouldn’t go amiss…

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  96. Damocles11 (2 comments) says:

    The puppies were the key. If someone went to the farm and stole those puppies, they had no need to shoot Scott Guy dead. The gate he drove up to was closed, so the ‘thief’ had already got clean away. So the only reason the puppies went missing was to create suspicion that ‘someone else did it’.

    I feel that because of hysteria surrounding past case or cases, where justice was overwhelmed by sheer willpower, we now have a justice system where ‘reasonable doubt’ has become ‘no doubt at all, not even one tiny shred’. Common sense has gone out the window. In the past there was one case I remember where the weight of evidence was overwhelming that one person had ‘done it’, and the pool of suspects was extremely limited, but through hysteria, the suppression of evidence, and the shameful allowance of hearsay to destroy a reputation, an absolute travesty occurred. NZ will regret it.

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  97. Megatron (187 comments) says:

    “Drover” “Hunter” what did they call the puppies – Matthew & Simon?

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  98. kaykaybee (149 comments) says:

    @pete George. You said ” if he stays in NZ”. Where will he go unless he already possesses dual citizenship elsewhere?
    Australia, for example is not interested in our serious criminals, and arson, theft,slaughter and dismemberment of stud animals and undertaking a terror campaign of property destruction and horrendous graffiti will no doubt earn him a hefty sentence. Surely, he’s hardly likely to get in even to watch a Bledisloe Cup game.

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  99. freemark (509 comments) says:

    @Viking2
    “Seems there was little doubt in the locals minds”
    There often isn’t, and with all due respect to those backbones of the economy..
    .. the tour should have gone ahead..
    … gay sex should be illegal..
    .. bloody Maoris are all useless buggers(apart from our milkers/shearers/rugby team….)

    Regardless of whether McDonald did it, (and it will surely bring about endless commentary on the “beyond reasonable doubt” issue) I would like to see an examination (public inquiry, Wussel et al) of the prowess/motives/skills of Police, and the unfortunate ability for one or two gut feelings to slew a whole investigation, and the high five, “win” culture displayed in our servants.

    Anyway, if this verdict was wrong, and Bain’s as well, there are far greater travesties of justice, and resultant dangerous, un-rehabilitable low lifes on the streets, with all due respect to the Guy family.

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  100. Damocles11 (2 comments) says:

    ‘When Macdonald was taken in by police for questioning on April 7 last year, he was asked about something his father had said. Kerry Macdonald reckoned whoever was responsible for the arson and the damage was the murderer. Macdonald agreed.’

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  101. coolas (109 comments) says:

    The jury sit for a month listening to all the evidence and return a verdict of ‘not guilty,’ but David Farrar says, ‘on the balance of probabilities MacDonald probably did it.’ Probable probabilities. Isn’t that the whole point of ‘reasonable doubt.’ The probable probabilities didn’t stack up. And you folks take this man’s opinion seriously.

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  102. Longknives (4,676 comments) says:

    Freemark- Why on earth would this necessitate a public inquiry into the Police??
    You do realise that most the decisions/directives in a Homicide Prosecution are made by the Crown don’t you?

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  103. Jimbob (641 comments) says:

    Now that I have calmed down a bit, I accept that there was not enough evidence to convict, and am wondering why the crown proceeded in the case without enough evidence. I was on a jury about thirty years ago and we had to acquit two guys who beat up an old guy in a bar. It was a retrial and what stuck in my mind was this lady on the jury who said she had now lost faith in the justice system. Beyond reasonable doubt is quite high, as the judge in our case kept informing us.
    What also is demanding in this case is it was in a rural area where you are vulnerable to crime, where help is a long way a way, if by some chance there is a person out there who a murderer for the fun of it, it is a worry for all concerned.

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  104. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    FES

    Can you explain to some how the Crown warrant works in New Zealand and how the Crown works with the police on serious crimes.

    and then

    How a High Court trial is put together – its is quite complex and involves alot more than a few coppers running around the district.

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  105. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    leftyliberal,

    Whether it was Macdonald or not I really don’t pretend to know, but either way, the murderer did a fantastic job (and as you say may have been lucky if indeed it wasn’t Macdonald).

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  106. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    coolas
    Are you high? I’ve seen no evidence that he is taken seriously.

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  107. Nostalgia-NZ (5,026 comments) says:

    Have to love the denial of the obvious. Like, why didn’t the police shut the farm down, take all weapons for testing at the outset. Treat the murder as potentially domestic as part of the full inquiry. Why, when the prosecution file lacked the continuity of proof wasn’t it reviewed and the obvious decision made not to prosecute. That way these families would be less splintered and unlikely to feel at some point they too quickly believed the evidence about the dive boots for example. There’s an argument here that without the prejudicial evidence admitted the case was over before it started, if that is correct then the families were damaged by the decision to prosecute without clear cut evidence that supported the decision to prosecute. That damage continues.

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  108. hj (6,683 comments) says:

    Normally you wear a dive boot tight as it has to fit the flipper snugly. if you were using it as a shoe you might wear a larger size?

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  109. Nostalgia-NZ (5,026 comments) says:

    Of course hj, but the prosecutor was struck dumb by realising the expert had made a balls up and didn’t present that explanation in response. But even with that return, had it been given, the case failed.

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  110. Chuck Bird (4,748 comments) says:

    “better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer” – William Blackstone, c1760″

    I wonder what his view would be on 999,999.

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  111. Chuck Bird (4,748 comments) says:

    “Also there are allegations Scott found Ewen shagging another Man.”

    I hope it was not a Member of Parliament,

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  112. big bruv (13,548 comments) says:

    Is there any truth behind the story doing the rounds that McDonald is having an affair with the farm hand?

    [DPF: No. Two Feilding police officers told me that there was absolutely no evidence of that]

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  113. thedavincimode (6,589 comments) says:

    Unlike other farm workers who walked around in gumboots, Macdonald walked around in dive boots. And he’d been doing that for how many years? Or did he just wear them around the home until then? As a neoprene ugg boot.

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  114. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    A “Simon Bradwell” has a piece here:
    http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/simon-bradwell-justice-has-been-served-4955162

    Not impressed really…

    Bradwell thinks there was “no motive”, even citing Ewen himself from his statements to the police. Sheez… I doubt Kylee would agree on that point given all that she’d been subjected to even before the murder. Who couldn’t imagine that Macdonald (if he were the murderer) in hindsight wouldn’t regret the extra work he has to put in afterwards, having not been thinking about such consequences beforehand? This is after all a guy who commits arson and vandalism against his own brother and sister-in-law – risky business if you value your family, but not out of the question if you think you are “good” enough to do it under their noses, and believe from experience that the police are useless.

    Bradwell also says of the sobbing at wife Anna’s testimony, “There is no doubt in my mind that his distress was genuine”.

    Of course it was! Whether he was the murderer or not, who couldn’t imagine that Macdonald wouldn’t be longing for the good old days when he had his freedom and family?

    Ultimately I am 100% OK with the verdict, but some of the logic put up in defense of it seems a bit loopy to me. Bradwell seems to have a preconception or murderers as crazed psychopaths or something… I personally think such a view is a little bit too “Hollywood”…

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  115. F E Smith (3,314 comments) says:

    Sheesh, PEB, that is an ask. I can really only comment on the lawyer side of things, not having been a police officer, though.

    Well, here goes:

    In NZ jury trials are prosecuted on behalf of the Her Majesty by what we call Crown Prosecutors. The central authority for Crown Prosecutors is the Attorney-General, but in NZ that legal officer does not appear in Court nor take an interest in the day to day running of prosecutions. Instead, the number two legal officer, the Solicitor-General, takes that responsibility. The S-G heads the Crown Law office, which is based in Wellington and acts as the legal adviser to the Government. A part of the Crown Law office deals with Criminal matters, but only appeals and the such like, because to prosecute all the jury trials, the NZ government operates what we call the Crown Solicitors network. The various private firms that make up that network are often, and mistakenly, referred to as ‘Crown Law’, even by police officers, but that only refers to the department in Wellington. Normally when we say ‘the Crown’ in a criminal matter we mean the Crown Solicitor for whatever district in which the trial is taking place.

    A Crown Solicitor is a lawyer who is appointed by the Crown to conduct all of the indictable (jury trial) prosecutions that take place within the district assigned to a High Court. So wherever there is a High Court, there is also a Crown Solicitor. There are a few of them, and the contracts are very lucrative financially to the firm that the warrant holder belongs to. The warrant is always held by a person, not a firm, but in many instances the warrant may as well be attached to the firm, as nobody outside the firm really has a look in whenever the warrant becomes available. A good example of this is Meredith Connell, in Auckland. The warrant of Crown Solicitor for Auckland has been held by a partner in that firm for a very long time. Whenever one moves on, usually by becoming a High Court judge himself, the warrant is given to another partner and the tradition continues. The Scott Guy/Ewen McDonald case took place in the High Court in Wellington, but the murder happened in Fielding. That means that the closest High Court is in Palmerston North, in which the Crown Solicitor’s warrant is held by Ben Vanderkolk. Therefore Mr Vanderkolk was responsible for the prosecution of Mr McDonald.

    Anyway, the Crown Solicitor is in charge of the prosecution of all jury trials in his/her district. The Solicitor-General is his/her boss, so to speak, although that only really becomes relevant for serious matters. Normally a case will be started by the Police filing charges in Court. If the charges are indictable, the police prosecutors will then guide the case through to when the case is committed for trial by jury. Once that happens, the police file is sent to the Crown, who has 6 weeks from committal date in which to draft and file an indictment.

    Now, that is the normal way of things. With a murder case things operate a little differently. When a suspected murder occurs, the Crown Solicitors office gets involved right from the outset of the investigation. The Police still do the investigating, but everything is done in conjunction with the Crown Solicitor. In many districts a Crown prosecutor will even observe the autopsy. This close collaboration will continue right throughout the case, with regular discussions between the Crown Solicitors office and the Police, which doesn’t usually happen until after committal in a normal case. Search warrants are often drafted by the Crown, although with Police input. Sometimes they are drafted by the Police and then reviewed by the Crown. Either way, the collaboration is close because of the serious nature of the offence.

    I should note that this can also happen on other serious cases, such as multi-defendant Class A drugs cases or, even, the Kim Dotcom case.

    The final decision to charge Mr McDonald in this case, as PEB pointed out earlier, would not have been taken by the Police as much as by the Crown Solicitor. That said, the Police would have had a great deal of input into that decision. Interestingly, once a murder charge is laid, then to withdraw or reduce the charge requires, I understand, the ok of the Solicitor-General. But I digress.

    Once the charges are laid, then the trial process takes over, and there are legislated deadlines that must be kept and processes are set in place that end either with an acquittal or sentencing.

    A High Court trial is quite a complex matter. It begins when the Crown/Police decide that they have identified sufficient evidence to satisfy the Crown guidelines on prosecution and charge an alleged offender. The person is arrested, charged and brought before the Court, where the issue of bail is decided. Assuming a plea of not guilty is entered, the case is then usually remanded to a pre-trial callover in the District Court, where a committal date will be set once police have complied with their disclosure obligations. By this time the Court will have received a full set of what we call briefs of evidence, which contain what the witness will be expected to say in Court under oath. A District Court judge will review these and if he/she finds that there is a case to answer before a jury (hint: they almost always do) then he/she will commit the defendant for trial. The case is then remanded to a High Court pre-trial callover, where a date will be set for trial. At that callover a date will also be set for pre-trial arguments over evidential issues, and/or any application the Defence might make for the charges to be dismissed. An example of an evidential issue is the issue of the search warrant evidence in the Urewera case. Arguments in this case may have been over objections to the Crown calling evidence about the admitted crimes (the arson etc), for example. I remember arguing almost an entire proposed photobook down to a couple of photos, so we can get very picky about things.

    Setting a date isn’t always easy. For example, n this case, the High Court will have had to hunt around for a date on which there was a courtroom available for 4 weeks, as well as making allowances for the availability of witnesses, especially expert witnesses. Also, Greg is a busy lawyer, so some allowance for his schedule, as well as the capacity of the Crown Solicitors office.

    The whole time this has been happening, the police will still be investigating the case, gathering further evidence. In most cases of this sort, police disclosure is still being made up to and often during the trial. The investigation is very much an ongoing matter, and it is never simply completed when charges are filed.

    The witness thing is not easy, because in addition to having to marshal police officers, they also have to deal with civilian witnesses, as well as forensic scientists (who do not work for the police) and any other experts they may need.

    As part of the trial process, the Crown will put together a book of relevant photos (the photobook I mentioned earlier) to assist the jury. They will also have the police prepare exhibits, often by mounting them for viewing. Facts that are not in dispute will be argued over by both sides and in many cases a statement of agreed facts will be presented to the jury. These arguments often continue up until, or after, the jury is empaneled, so the police are kept on their toes with various amendments to disputed items.

    Actually, I seem to have lost my way a bit, so I will bring this to a close!

    Within the jury trial, the jury will hear from each witness. Legal arguments are conducted in the absence of the jury, however. The police are usually responsible for making sure the evidence is available at the right time, while the Crown lawyer takes overall charge of what happens when in the Crown case. Again, there is always a great deal of discussion going on between Crown and Police before and during the trial. This is definitely not a situation where you can easily separate the two.

    As a contrast, lesser trials often have a greater sense of separation between the role of the Crown lawyer and the police officers involved. With a murder, however, the lines really are blurred.

    As I said, I have lost my way a bit there. I hope this helps a little. I am sure that whatever I have missed then PEB or others can fill in!

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  116. freemark (509 comments) says:

    Longknifes
    Take the comment in context.. and of course you realise that the Crown acts on recommendations by the Police after review of probably a slanted optimism of case strength. Then there becomes an ideal (or imperative) to walk the talk, and as we have seen the planting or suppressing of evidence to fit the Police scenario or Crown case is not unheard of.
    Just saying..

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  117. toad (3,672 comments) says:

    Compare David Tamihere’s case.

    Similarly. it was based on only circumstantial evidence. And at the time of the trial, not even a body, unlike the Scott Guy murder. And when a body did finally turn up in the Tamihere case, it was not where the Police claimed it would be and was still accompanied by the victim’s watch that the Police previously claimed at trial Tamihere had given to his son.

    Similar history of serious previous criminal activity from both Tamihere and Macdonald.

    Anyone else here think that ethnicity of the respective defendants may have been the primary factor in the difference between the respective verdicts?

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  118. Cricklewood (21 comments) says:

    Re the relationship with the farm hand, to say there was no evidence shows they did a poor job, I grew up around these guys. Ewen has always been a sociopath trouble is he’s a smart guy and the police were too slow to suspect him. I.d dare say if they dida proper job investigating the arson this wouldn.t have happened

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  119. F E Smith (3,314 comments) says:

    Just one other thing: I would just like to make clear that I don’t think there has been any problem with the investigation, nor with anything that the Police did in this case.

    My only criticism is that, based on what I have read (which is always dangerous) I don’t think charges should have been laid with the evidence that they had at the time.

    Toad: No, I don’t.

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  120. noskire (835 comments) says:

    @ F E Smith, thanks for taking the time to post that. Very informative.

    From my point of view as a lay-person, I’m not surprised that the jury reached the verdict they did. The Crown case seemed almost entirely circumstantial, and was mentioned earlier, if they had managed to locate the dive-boots, then they may have had something material to pin on McDonald.

    Possibly once the Police managed to get a confession out of McDonald about the vandalism etc, the Crown felt confident he would eventually also confess to Scott’s murder, hence pursing a prosecution without any real concrete evidence?

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  121. bhudson (4,736 comments) says:

    toad,

    No

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  122. Leaping Jimmy (16,086 comments) says:

    Anyone else here think that ethnicity of the respective defendants may have been the primary factor in the difference between the respective verdicts?

    No. In fact the only people I suspect it has ever occurred to is particularly mental members of a certain fringe political party who seem to imagine that anytime anyone cwiticises the tangata whenua in any way definition of “criticism” including “finding them guilty of anything apart from being a victim,” this means those critics are automatically wacist wegardless of anything else at all such as facts or any other evidence just because they are, so there.

    Why do you ask toad?

    I note to date on the thread your theory doesn’t seem to be gaining much traction. Does that mean we’re all wacist, or is something else going on?

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  123. Graeme Edgeler (3,274 comments) says:

    I am not a civil litigator, but I don’t think that the double jeopardy rule prevented civil suits anyway. However, the ACC laws might. Someone else will no doubt know the exact answer.

    The rule against double jeopardy has never stopped civil claims. It’s about criminal cases, and we’ve done away with bits of it anyway.

    ACC laws would bar a claim for compensation for the loss, but not a claim for punitive damages.

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  124. Nick K (1,124 comments) says:

    Toad, where do you get off with racist slurs like that?

    I s’pose you guys want an inquiry into the justice system too.

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  125. metcalph (1,401 comments) says:

    Similar history of serious previous criminal activity from both Tamihere and Macdonald.

    Tamihere had a history of rape and homicide. There’s quite a big difference between that and what Ewen did.

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  126. Random Punter (65 comments) says:

    Dave Mann, Transmogrifier, and all the others who think he “probably” did it:

    Just what evidence do you have, that wasn’t put before the jury, for that conclusion? To any objective observer who heard it all, the evidence given in court was clearly insufficient to justify a verdict of guilty, so surely the only fair answer to whether he did it is “we don’t know”.

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  127. dubya (222 comments) says:

    “Similar history of serious previous criminal activity from both Tamihere and Macdonald.”

    “Tamihere had a history of rape and homicide. There’s quite a big difference between that and what Ewen did.”

    McDonald is a dairy farmer, so rapes Gaia. Duh! Can’t you follow Toadlogic?

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  128. Leaping Jimmy (16,086 comments) says:

    To any objective observer who heard it all, the evidence given in court was clearly insufficient to justify a verdict of guilty

    Random Punter on balance I don’t think he was guilty either but I am also hesitant to be so equivocal as you since I wasn’t in court and didn’t hear the evidence and know the media always, but always, gets the wrong end of the stick, minimises important issues and trivialises critical issues. If you don’t know the media does this all the time in this country, you haven’t lived here for very long or you’re particularly dim. Just saying, that’s all.

    So given that, it’s not possible to draw a real conclusion from whatever planet hollyweird has blessed the populace with on their 6 o’clock wisdom show with those talking head people with the nice haircuts.

    All I’m saying is if you’re drawing a conclusion, you need to bear in mind those kind of qualifications before you draw your conclusions from those media people. Aren’t they awful…

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  129. Random Punter (65 comments) says:

    Evening Jimmy

    I agree that it would be unwise to rely solely on the media coverage in reaching an opinion, as many on his thread seem to do. But I sat in court for 18 of the 20 days and base my view on what I heard there.

    Cheers

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  130. Leaping Jimmy (16,086 comments) says:

    Fair enough Random Punter. Tell me, are you David Garrett?

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  131. Random Punter (65 comments) says:

    Nope. But now you’ve got me worried.

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  132. Leaping Jimmy (16,086 comments) says:

    You’ll be OK, so long as you’re not philu either. Kiwiblog just lately is like being in a wild west town, but as long as you’re not one of those, that means you’re just one of the townfolk hanging out at the saloon, playing poker n sipping whiskey.

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  133. kowtow (7,914 comments) says:

    longknives@747

    the “rather large lady”! and your comment was made at 747, jumbo, brilliant.

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  134. thedavincimode (6,589 comments) says:

    Thankyou Random Punter.

    Those two comment deserve their own thread.

    It’s never ceases to amaze me that people can arrive at long distance observations based upon media reports on the one hand, but spend the rest of the time (quite rightly) slagging off the media for inventing news and general bullshit sensationalist reporting. Sure, we’ve all heard the snippets, like the exploding boots, the absence of bike tracks, Macdonald’s knowledge of the cause of death. We hear it and think: “OK, that’s interesting/good for Macdonald/bad for Macdonald”.

    But does anyone with more than half a brain conclusively think: “he did it”, sometimes only hours or days into the trial? Are there people who actually think that this case would have proceeded to trial without even a prima facie case against Macdonald? Was there an expectation that the police would have absolutely no evidence potentially relevant to Macdonal’s guilt and that they would simply turn up on the day and hope for the best?

    After hearing all the evidence, a jury spent 11 hours dealing with it and arrived at a verdict of not guilty. Despite that, responses here based upon these long range media snippets prefer an alternative view to the effect that our justice system is tipped on its head, the evidential burden should shift to some lesser burden, and juries are all stupid and should be given the arse.

    We also hear comment from experienced criminal lawyers, based no doubt, upon those same snippets but also perhaps some inside comment from the network, to the effect that this prosecution should not have proceeded on the basis of the evidence.

    But that won’t stop the armchair experts from opining that he probably did it; presumably because from the long distance comfort of their armchairs some media snippets suggest that his guilt would have been proven to a civil standard and that therefore, represents good reason to erode a further cornerstone in our constitutional rights; namely that when the state prosecutes us, it must must prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. If you are into erosion of rights and state control of your lives, you’re best off over at the Stranded.

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  135. hj (6,683 comments) says:

    Was just reading this:
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/7214637/Ewen-Macdonald-No-one-really-knows-him

    he seems to have been obsessive and;

    “FARM workers said that Macdonald was difficult to get on with, and he used to skite about his poaching expeditions, she said. “They said he always hated anyone who started out new on the farm, like they had to prove themselves.

    “He was a weird guy … very controlling of Anna. He never drank alcohol … maybe he thought if he did, he wouldn’t be able to stay quiet.”

    “I observed that Scott and Ewen had competition between each other,” said Andrew Short, who went to school with both men and worked on the farm in 2000. “It seemed that one would get a tattoo and [the other] would get a tattoo, or one of the parties would get a new car and [the] other would get a new car.”

    The friend agrees. “I think it was more than just differences in business or on the farm. I don’t think they really liked each other, from what I got from Scotty.”

    Macdonald would always try to one-up Scott, and pulled increasingly bizarre stunts to keep up with him. Sometimes, it was just funny – like when Macdonald bought a sunbed, so he could work on getting a tan in the farmhouse at home.

    “Scotty was always brown, he always wore a singlet around and was really tanned,” the friend says. “We joked around that he had got it because he wanted to be brown like Scotty.” “

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  136. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    I look at it like this. The murdered guy had loads was a way a lot had and a hot wife. Someone wanted to take it away by burning down his stuff and slating the wife as a ‘whore’. The accused’s wife now refuses to wear his ring – join the dots and a psychotic but unrequited obsession seems to emerge.

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  137. thedavincimode (6,589 comments) says:

    hi

    I read that too so I guess we experienced the same type of voyeuristic impluse. Are you starting a news aggregation service on this blog.

    Lee C

    Thankyou for underscoring the importance of the current criminal burden of proof. BTW, did you gain this interesting insight from your review of the police evidence? Or do you think that they were unlikely to have considered this possibility? Or did the theory just pop into your head?

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  138. Scott Chris (5,960 comments) says:

    Just what evidence do you have, that wasn’t put before the jury, for that conclusion?

    Ken Ring told us, duh. Using a simple process of elimination in all likelihood Macdonald is the perp even if the evidence isn’t compelling enough to secure a conviction. Simple question – is it more likely that Macdonald topped Guy or someone else given the circumstantial context? And just a reminder:

    1) This is a debate forum where people can freely express their opinion. (even morons like thedavincimode)
    2) A freely expressed opinion is mere speculation and doesn’t need the standard of proof required by a court of law.
    3) A jury can either say guilty or not guilty. Whether some or all of them thought Macdonald probably did it isn’t known.

    So get over yourself.

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  139. Scott (1,736 comments) says:

    Let me just speculate based on the reactions of the people we saw last night.

    Euan MacDonald , had no one yesterday who would say, “thank goodness — the innocent can now go free!” He did not appear on the stand. If he was innocent, would he not appear on the stand to clear his name?

    What about his parents? If they were convinced of his innocence would they not have some semblance of celebration in their demeanour? Might they not have said something to the press along the lines of ” we thank the jury that justice has been done for our innocent son”?

    What about his wife? Why was she so upset if she knew that husband was innocent? Why did she lean into her father as much to say “I’m sorry Dad”?

    Kylee Guy believes that Euan is the murderer. She screamed it out when the verdict came down.

    What about the mayor of Fielding? Why was she so diplomatic when she was asked about the reaction of the local community. If she believed Euan was innocent would she not say something in his defence? Would she not be concerned about an unknown killer roaming free in the community?

    To me the reactions say it all. There does not appear to be anyone in this scenario who believes MacDonald is innocent. Including MacDonald himself. That’s my reading based on the reactions after the verdict. I cannot make them fit if McDonald is innocent of murder.

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  140. Paulus (2,554 comments) says:

    Greg King, MacDonald’s lawyer was brilliant.
    His master stroke was not to put MacDonald on the stand.
    His finale was Shakesperean -

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  141. thedavincimode (6,589 comments) says:

    This business of being a complete fuckwit Scott, do you practise or is it all just natural talent?

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  142. Nostalgia-NZ (5,026 comments) says:

    I wouldn’t call it a talent, but it’s certainly natural.

    ‘Why was she so upset if she knew her husband was innocent.’

    How about because he was on a murder charge? What a struggle things must be for you Scotty.

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  143. KH (693 comments) says:

    Within the system as is the jury found McDonald not guilty. Thats fine as far as it goes.
    But I believe McDonald killed Scott Guy.
    In regard to the previous atrocities. These were extreme beyond belief, and mark a seriously disturbed individual. This is a mad mad man who was capable of doing anything. Especially to Scott and Kylee Guy.
    That sort of character, concealing all his rage behind his blank face is not likely to change. One of the most dangerous creatures, and remains so.
    Greg King pulled it off, with lines so stupid they had me laughing. Greg even ran the line that Ewan now had no motivation for harm. Ridiculous — but the Jury fell for it.
    There is menace abroad, and it’s name is Ewan,

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  144. Scott (1,736 comments) says:

    thedavincimode and nostalgia NZ address the arguments and the observations. Also why are you so abusive? Civility is always a good thing.
    You would never speak to a person like that to their face.

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  145. Scott (1,736 comments) says:

    But if you are so smart then explain the reactions. Do you honestly believe MacDonald is innocent?

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  146. thedavincimode (6,589 comments) says:

    Scott

    I meant the other Scott (Chris). There are so many of you and you all look the same.

    But having now read your post I think you should remain offended.

    You would never speak to a person like that to their face.

    Not generally unless confonted with an extreme case of fuckwitism that required immediate rectification.

    Would you repeat what you just said to Ewan Macdonald, his parents, his (ex?) wife and their kids? I should add that your comment is now here for all time and available for them to see if they look, so I should clarify by asking if you would repeat what you have said to them in person, and if so, what would you epxect to gain from repeating it?

    Do you honestly believe MacDonald is innocent?

    I honestly have no idea. I didn’t sit through the trial and did not see and hear the evidence. Did you?

    You might also consider the prospect that the police might have considered all these theories. If they weren’t in the evidence, then does it not occur to you that there might be a good reason?

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  147. redeye (636 comments) says:

    would he not appear on the stand to clear his name

    Most thinking people would take their lawyers advice. He had nothing to gain. There was no evidence against him. Why should he put himself at the mercy of a clever prosecutor?

    Once he’s on the stand every little twitch is going to be scrutinised and used as a reason for the crying of “witch! witch!”.

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  148. metcalph (1,401 comments) says:

    But I believe McDonald killed Scott Guy.

    How do you explain away the fairly cast-iron alibi then? To wit, four witnesses say they heard gun shots at 5 am. At 5.03 am, Ewen McDonald is deactivating the burglar alarm on his house.

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  149. thedavincimode (6,589 comments) says:

    metcalph

    Minor detail. You need to look at the big picture. He seems a bit dodgy.

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  150. Scott (1,736 comments) says:

    thedavincimode – I realise there is more than one scott but I am the original. Well on this blog we are free to say what we think about the case? The guilt or innocence of the person accused- surely?

    Now I have not abused MacDonald,as you have abused me. My observations are my opinion based on the reactions of the people shown on TV. So I do think he is probably guilty. And if he asked me face to face I would want to know why he did not testify? I would also want to know whether other family members are convinced of his innocence?

    Now if I am wrong and can be shown to be wrong I am happy to say so.

    But do not forget justice has not been done In Scott Guy’s case. His murderer has not been found,or at least found guilty. So an innocent man,Guy,has perished and no one is going to be held to account. And that is a tragedy.

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  151. kowtow (7,914 comments) says:

    Greg King was involved in the defence of the Sophie Elliot murderer Clayton Weatherston……….hmmmmmm

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  152. Nostalgia-NZ (5,026 comments) says:

    Well, I’m glad that’s all cleared up then – it’s how people look on TV.

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  153. thedavincimode (6,589 comments) says:

    We are free to say what we think Scott and we have both done that. Maybe you’d like to move onto metcalph’s question instead of repeating a view that has no rational basis.

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  154. thedavincimode (6,589 comments) says:

    Interesting point. So what are Sainsbury and Campbell guilty of?

    kowtow

    What are you saying … is Greg King a serial murderer???!!!

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  155. kowtow (7,914 comments) says:

    Why is that poll there on the left of the home page?

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  156. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    da vinci in answer to your question – yes the idea just popped into my head.

    Given the effectiveness of all the other circumstantial evidence produced as a basis for conviction why is this idea any more outlandish? My point is that I’m suprised that this was not explored more at trial by the prosecution.

    You know, the guy graffitis ‘whore’ on a wall, and like we’re all cool with that, as evidently it could have had had no bearing on the accused’s state of mind had he got into a confrontation with the victim who happened to be married to the ‘whore’. Nor could it have had any influence on the alleged premeditated use of a shot-gun on the victim.

    What motivated the grafitti against the wife? – I thought the argument was with the victim? Why did the accused keep this detail amongst others from his wife? Why has the accused’s wife abandoned him?

    Perhaps she has insight, which can’t be backed up by physical evidence. Unless we are not accepting ‘whore’ emblazened on a wall as ‘physical’ evidence now, and rendering it into the realm of the circumstantial.

    I mean if the prosecution were racking their brains for potential motive or something. . .

    Aren’t we fortunate they left no stone unturned?

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  157. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    The Police dont make the decision to prosecute totally on their own
    .
    When a decsision to prosecute is made it involves the police, the legal team who will run the case (often from a private practice and thus they will almost always say ‘Go’ – they get paid by us to run it and they dont care if its guilty or not guilty – they still get paid. Theyll tell the police that they can make the dive boot stuff stick, etc) and I think Crown law and the Attorney General can also be involved.
    However Im surprised in this case that the police couldnt see that they had problems.

    As for the jury – they did exactly what they are supposed to do.
    And dont forget that compared to 30 or so years ago – the public do not hold the police in such high regard. Since Arthur Thomas more and more of us have doubts about the police. And as the trial went on i bet there were jury members saying to them selves “Bloody idiot police thinking that would bit of evidence stick” or”and what significance was that bit” etc.

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  158. numcrun (9 comments) says:

    Metcalph has got it right. The cow shed alarm was deactivated at 5:03am, as stated by the alarm monitoring service. So if the gunshots were at 5am, as 4 witnesses stated, Ewen is innocent! OK one guy reckoned his clock was fast and it was actually 4:45am but even then it is a big stretch to make the timeline fit.

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  159. OpenMind (54 comments) says:

    Indeed the evidence just wasn’t strong enough to find Ewen guilty of Scott’s murder, and we may never know for sure just who did it. He will obviously be charged for the other 3 crimes we know about; the ones the he admitted to. However it sounds like given his own admission and aiding the police i.e telling them where deer were buried this will be to his advantage when sentencing comes along. Also the 14 months he has already served may well be taken off the sentence.

    The 3 other surpressed charges we will eventually find out about are going to be quite surprising to many who had pictured Ewen to be ‘a bit hard done by’. There is so much more to this man’s vindictive behaviour from his past that wasn’t just directed at Scott and Kylee. That might be why these actions were surpressed as they were not directed at the Guys so didn’t shore up the Crown’s case of his one-eyed vendetta against them. How his wife and family had no idea what he’d been up to is either tantamount to his very convincing demeanour and/ or their unquestioning love and support for him.

    However, it appears he has had quite a vengeful streak and chip on his shoulder about more than just what we’ve heard during the trial. He got away with a lot of anti-social, destructive and deeply personal criminal behaviour that has now been discovered (hence the police comment of several other crimes being solved during their investigations).
    It’s now time for him to be be punished for these, and hopefully feel enough remorse to change his ways. Especially for the sake of his own family and kids.

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