Ewen Macdonald sentenced to five years in prison
Fri, 14 Sep 2012 10:42a.m.
By 3 News online staff / NZN
Ewen Macdonald has been sentenced to five years in prison.
Macdonald received nine months for poaching the Hocken family’s deer, nine months for emptying the milk from Nigel Sexton’s dairy shed, one year for slaughtering 19 calves with a hammer, two years for burning down Mr Sexton’s duck hunting whare, three years for burning down Kylee and Scott Guy’s old farmhouse and two years for vandalising Kylee and Scott’s new family home.
The two arson sentences are cumulative and the rest are concurrent.
The charges were treated in two sections by the judge - the two offenses against the Guys and the four other farm charges.
Macdonald received credit for a guilty plea but the fact it was only after intensive police interviews and an admission from his partner in crime Callum Boe was taken into effect.
Macdonald had previously pleaded guilty to four charges of criminal damage, one of arson and one of theft, but pleaded not guilty - and was acquitted - of murdering brother-in-law and business partner Mr Guy.
Guy family statement
The Guy family released a statement shortly after the sentencing in which Bryan Guy said they felt no closure.
“The sentencing today does not give us closure or satisfaction. It is simply a reminder that there are consequences for the decisions that Ewen made.”
One of those consequences, he says, is Macdonald no longer being part of the family’s lives.
“He has lost our trust and has hurt us deeply and shaken the values which our family hold dear.”
He says his family are determined to build a new life and move on from the tragedy.
“We are determined to build a future not on anger or revenge, not on resentment or sorrow. We must build a future for our children and grandchildren on love and compassion, on truth and faith.”
Crown asked for cumulative sentence
As the sentencing hearing got underway earlier this morning the Crown asked that Macdonald receive a cumulative sentence for his crimes.
They said his crimes were carried out over a long period of time, affected a significant number of people and had a high level of harm.
Crown lawyer Paul Murray said each offence derives from Macdonald’s sense of entitlement, which hasn’t gone away.
He said Macdonald told his probation officer that his slaughtering of 19 calves, belonging to farmer Paul Barber, with a hammer was a justified form of retribution.
The Crown’s lead offence was the arson of Scott and Kylee’s old farmhouse, which was on the back of removal trucks at the site of their new home.
Mr Murray said the arson was deliberately planned by Macdonald to cause hurt and pain.
“The effect was harrowing – it had the effect Macdonald set out to create,” he said.
Macdonald’s acts were cynical and had a high level of planned concealment, Mr Murray said.
In summarising Macdonald’s six offences, Justice Simon France said he intentionally set out to commit the callous and brutal killing of the calves after they discovered the vat was empty.
Justice France said Macdonald’s burning down of the historic whare was a targeted act against something he knew was treasured by the family.
“It was the needless loss of a piece of history. Your intention was to annoy and hurt and you certainly achieved that,” he said.
Judge: No remorse from Macdonald
The most contentious issue, Justice France said, was Macdonald’s sense of remorse.
He rejected the submission by Macdonald’s lawyer Greg King that there was remorse after the crimes against Mr and Mrs Guy.
He said the police videos shown during the murder trial show that he had no remorse, but only concealment.
Macdonald has been in custody since his arrest on April 7 last year, after being charged with the murder. He has already spent 17 months in prison.
Mr Guy’s widow Kylee was a victim of two of the charges, one where Macdonald set an old farm cottage on fire and another where he vandalised their new family home.
Macdonald also slaughtered 19 calves belonging to Himatangi dairy farmer Paul Barber and emptied 16,000 litres of milk from a vat belonging to the neighbouring farm belonging to Nigel Sexton.
Mr Sexton’s historic duck-hunting whare, built in 1888, was also burnt down by Macdonald.
He was also sentenced for droving to a nearby farm and shooting two trophy stags which he buried in a pre-dug hole on the Guy family farm, where he was a manager.
Mr Guy was shot dead at the end of his Feilding driveway on July 8, 2010.
Justice Simon France, the same man who oversaw the murder trial, handed down the sentence at the High Court in Palmerston North this morning.
Some of the crimes were committed alongside Boe, who police determined was not involved in Mr Guy's murder. Boe was sentenced to two years' jail in September last year, but freed from prison in June after serving nine months in prison.
Earlier this week, it was revealed Mr Guy's widow, Kylee Guy, had written to Attorney-General Chris Finlayson begging him to help keep Macdonald behind bars for longer.
"Ewen Macdonald is a very dangerous, vindictive man and an extreme danger to our society and people," she wrote.
Ms Guy said Macdonald needed cumulative sentences - where a sentence for each charge is imposed, rather than concurrent sentences - to reflect the "true gravity" of his offending, and once he was released, she would leave New Zealand to keep her family safe.
However, a spokesman for Mr Finlayson said it would be improper for the Government to influence court decisions.
3 News / NZN
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