'He couldn't have done it' - defence
Thu, 28 Jun 2012 10:22a.m.
By Lloyd Burr and Angela Beswick
Defence lawyer Greg King has finished making his summary at the trial of Ewen Macdonald, who is accused of murdering his brother-in-law and business partner Scott Guy.
Mr King followed Crown prosecutors who have summed up the case against Macdonald.
Mr King says Macdonald was not the killer.
“In a four hour closing address, you have heard 20 minutes of evidence”, he says.
“The actions of an innocent person going about his normal routine.”
Mr King outlined the four areas he would cover in his summary:
The time of the murder
Mr King says there were four witnesses that gave evidence that they heard bangs at, or around 5am. There have also been questions asked about the accuracy of the clock used by one of the prosecution witnesses, Derek Sharp.
If the murder did take place at 5am, Mr King says Macdonald could not have done it.
Mr Guy was due to start work at 4:50 on the morning he died. Mr King has questioned why, when Mr Guy lived just 1.47km away from the farm office, he would have left his house at 4:41am to arrive at the murder scene at the time alleged by the prosecution.
According to Mr King, it would have taken Mr Guy just one minute to get to work if he was travelling at 90km/h
The number of bangs
Mr King says the one witness who was already awake at 5am, Bonnie Fredriksson, heard three shots in quick succession.
“Her flatmate said the first one woke him, and he heard the other two,” says Mr King.
“If it was three bangs, then there is no way it could have been the farm shot gun.”
An American gun expert took seven seconds to fire a third shot in a trial.
Two shotgun cartridge wads were found, but Mr King says the third wad could easily be lost in the paddock, sunken into the mud or stood on by one of the horses.
“What links that shotgun to the crime? Nothing,” says Mr King.
“The Crown’s case of two shots only is pure speculation. There’s no plan b.”
King asks “where’s the evidence?”
Mr King says the prosecution case against Macdonald is based on allegations.
“Where is the evidence that this killing was carried out by an experience hunter?”
“It was not two shots of deadly accuracy.”
Macdonald's lawyer has questioned one of the key pieces of evidence at the trial, the Proline boots which Crown lawyers allege were worn by Macdonald during the murder.
“There is evidence that Ewen Macdonald wore his diving boots five years before the murder. He used them as camp shoes. But that has somehow been translated into using stealth to stalk,” says Mr King.
“The shots were at 5am. He couldn’t have done it. There were three shots. He couldn’t have done it. There were tyre marks found at the scene that you cannot exclude. There is just doubt.”
Mr King has appealed to the jury to avoid emotion when making their decision.
“You need to base your decision on evidence, not tears, not emotions, not photos of beautiful puppies, not photos of Mr Guy’s face,” he says.
“There is no doubt Scott guy and Ewen Macdonald had problems in the past. But you need to be careful. You cannot do what the police did and jump from A to Z.”
Crown summarises case
Crown prosecutors finished summing up the case against Macdonald.
The jury has this afternoon heard how the shooting was not a driveby, it was not meant for someone else.
“[The murder] was carried out by a hunter with deadly prowess in the dark,” Crown prosecutor Ben Vanderkolk told the jury.
“It was an accomplished and confident gunman.”
Mr Vanderkolk told the court the farm shotgun cannot be excluded as the murder weapon because it was “easily accessible and because, on the night of the killing, it wasn’t locked up like it should have been”.
The killer, Mr Vanderkolk says, was lying in wait for Mr Guy to arrive.
It was someone who resented “everything about Scott Guy”.
“That man, is Ewen Macdonald.”
What did Macdonald need to kill Mr Guy?
After adjourning for lunch, Crown prosecutor Ben Vanderkolk continued his summary by putting to the jury: What did Macdonald need to kill Mr Guy?
The answer is timing, a trap, a decoy, a shotgun, immediate cover afterward, the knowledge and effect on Kylee Guy and the opportunity to conceal, Mr Vanderkolk says. To do this he needed to be planning and organised, a risk taker and a clear thinker.
“That is how the accused came to kill Scott Guy,” he says.
“How can someone do that to a human being? Or why?”
In his earlier summary this afternoon, Mr Vanderkolk finished addressing the theft of a neighbour’s prized stags which occurred around the time of Mr Guy’s murder. He says the manner in which they were killed demonstrates Macdonald’s proficiency with a firearm.
Macdonald initially denied having anything to do with the theft and slaughter of the deer, but admitted his guilt when police confronted him with a confession from his accomplice Calum Boe. He also admitted to torching an old farmhouse and vandalising the new home of Mr Guy and wife Kylee.
“This man took this shot in the middle of the night, and he is still capable of picking off another one – he can down another one. That is his proficiency at shooting, his proficiency with a firearm,” Mr Vanderkolk told the jury.
“Not only does he take the first shot and the second shot, but he drives his vehicle into the paddock and picks the deer up. The heads were taken off.
“He knows for reasons only he can tell that he will get away with it.”
Mr Vanderkolk says Macdonald’s actions in burying the carcasses and going home shows how Macdonald thinks and acts.
“Look at how he acted with detectives,” he says. “He took them on a farm tour… to the area of burial of the deer carcasses.
“There is no guilt. There is nothing shown in the video.”
There are striking similarities between Macdonald’s actions on that night and the morning Mr Guy was shot and killed, Mr Vanderkolk says.
“Shoot at night, away from his property, two shots, thinking he can get away with it and suppressing it.”
Macdonald’s actions ‘deeply embedded bitterness’
Damage caused to the Scott and Kylee Guy’s new home is an insight into the state of mind of the person wielding the axe, Mr Vanderkolk says.
“Look at every single room in that house, look at the damage.
“He even took his own paint and paintbrush,” says Mr Vanderkolk.
“We don’t know what the trigger is. It’s not just foolish and nasty – it’s deeply embedded bitterness.”
Mr Vanderkolk says Macdonald knew he had an alibi that was ready to play out.
“It’s extreme conduct of the most wanting kind,” he tells the jury.
Initial denial proof Macdonald can lie - Crown
Ewen Macdonald’s initial denial he had committed any crimes proves he can lie, the jury at the Scott Guy murder trial has been told.
Mr Vanderkolk told the jury Macdonald’s lies show he can “maintain his suppression of violent and destructive activities”.
In police interviews after the murder, Macdonald initially denied being involved in any act of intimidation toward the Mr Guy or his wife Kylee.
He later admitted to torching an old farmhouse and vandalising their new home, as well as stealing prized stags from a neighbour.
“[Macdonald] is confident in his lies until he is confronted by an eye witness,” Mr Vanderkolk said.
The jury has spent the morning listening to closing statements from the Crown at the High Court in Wellington.
Mr Vanderkolk this morning urged the jury not to shy away from a guilty verdict.
“There is no doubt that Scott Guy was shot,” Mr Vanderkolk told the jury.
“There is no accomplice. It was planned. It was planned to avoid detection.”
The Crown’s case was circumstantial because there was no audience to the murder, the jury heard.
“The murder was intensely personal. The deceased is known to the killer. There isn’t a witness to the murder. You don’t invite people to come along to a murder. There isn’t an audience.
"You plan to get away with it. Coincidence cannot be explained away.”
Mr Vanderkolk tells the jury Macdonald has committed personal, violent offences against the deceased.
“Members of the jury, you will have no understanding of pulling that trigger.
“It raises the questions of how can someone do that to someone else?”
Macdonald has buying privileges at his father’s Hunting and Fishing shop.
On February 18, 2004 he bought something on his credit card that matches the wholesale price of a Proline dive boot, Mr Vanderkolk says.
“It could have been any size – the shop had 25 pairs of boots.”
What we don’t have is an invoice of the purchase of the boots. So you have to make an inference.
It seems Macdonald used the boots the following year in 2005, then on a hunting trip later that year, Mr Vanderkolk tells the court.
Then he seems to stop his hunting exploits.
Macdonald’s organisation is immaculate, his packing is immaculate, argued the Crown.
“So where are the boots?”
The accused told his mum she could find the spare key at the house at 147 - in the right dive boot in the boot cupboard.
Anna Macdonald, Ewen's wife, said trying to remember whether she had thrown the dive boots out was "doing her head in".
Macdonald told her: “Just go and think about it”.
Victim, accused were ‘never on the same page’
At the time of the murder, Macdonald was confronted with the farm structure being substantially altered.
“At the time of the killing, future plans of Scott Guy and Macdonald were divergent,” Mr Vanderkolk told the jury.
“They were never on the same page.”
After committing the murder, Mr Vanderkolk says, Macdonald started the day like it was a normal day. He has a planned and methodical mind.
But, “no one knows the mind of the accused. We don’t know what he thinks… He doesn’t know how to talk about it.”
Living the life of an arsonist, a vandal and writing threatening notes – no one really knows Macdonald, Mr Vanderkolk says.
“No one knows the depth of his resentment or his own sense of the risks posed to him.”
‘All Macdonald had to do was get home undetected’
Mr Vanderkolk has called into question Macdonald’s actions the day of the murder, telling the jury all Macdonald had to do to get away with the crime was get home undetected.
He had 300 hectares of farm land to on which to hide his gear. Macdonald had to cover 1.46km of open road in the darkness in the country.
"That was all he had to do, once he got back to his home on Aorangi Rd, he was in his safe haven.''
Mr Vanderkolk says all McDonald had to do was wait for the news of Mr Guy’s death, which he knew was coming, in the meantime explaining away his absence by telling farmworkers Mr Guy must have slept in.
The only people who got close enough to see Mr Guy’s wound were neighbour David Berry, Bruce Johnson and the police.
Mr Vanderkolk questions why then Macdonald called Bryan Guy, who recalls the words: "His face, his face." How would Macdonald have known what Mr Guy’s face looked like?
“He couldn’t see it from 10 metres away. It’s not possible because the light doesn’t allow it,” Mr Vanderkolk says. “Only those close to it would know about the wound.”
“Why didn’t he say, ‘Scott’s lying on his driveway, he’s dead.’ Why did he send Bryan on a wild goose chase? Why delay it?”
There is only one person who saw Mr Guy’s wound, Mr Vanderkolk told the jury: the accused.
“He saw it when he did it… [Macdonald] collects himself when he talks to his parents. He tells his mother: ‘I think [Scott’s] throat might have been cut.’
“The accused knew the cause of the death of Scott Guy before anyone else. He knew because he was the gunman. He knew because he took those two shots.”
“He knew what time Mr Guy had to be up. He posseses the information. He carries a notebook with him.
“On his cellphone, he has spreadsheets. He has everything about the farm."
The Crown says the accused knows more about timing than anyone else.
Puppy theft theory discounted – Crown
Crown prosecutor Ben Vanderkolk told the jury the theory that Mr Guy interrupted a burglar looking to steal chocolate Labrador puppies from the property had been excluded after “long and detailed” police work.
"The theft of three puppies doesn't make it about a burglary gone wrong or a burglar has been intercepted going about his burglary,'' he told the jury.
Instead he said the killer was lying in wait and caged Mr Guy in his own driveway.
"It was targeted and personal.”
Crown sums up Scott’s final moments
Mr Vandervolk says the times the alarms were deactivated strikes a pattern which shows when things start to happen on that farm; it is the reference point for everything that will happen on that farm.
The only time that is out is the one that happened on July 8 – it was only the accused who knew what time the farm fires up, and he was the only one who knew what time Mr Guy was going to drive up his driveway.
Mr Vandervolk says on the day of his murder, Mr Guy gets up on time – he’s not late, he knows he is on early; only a person who knows the timings on the farm knows when to close the gates – the accused.
As Mr Guy approaches those closed gates, there may be music playing. The beam of lights shining down the driveway would have been the last view he ever had.
“He lifts the gate out of the way and pushed the other one and at that point, he is confronted with his killer," says Mr Vandervolk. "Not distracted by someone running across the paddock. Not by a car… He hardly has time for distraction at all, apart from when the accused steps out from the darkness and into the lights.”
Crown questions ‘plans’ Macdonald talked of
At the cordon, the accused said: “It’s not fair, it’s not fair, we had so many plans”, Mr Vanderkolk told the jury.
“We know that their plans had nothing in common with each other on the eighth of July.”
Mr Guy’s sister Nikki was at the scene, having a conversation with David Berry. Macdonald was also there and embarks in a disagreement twice, correcting Mr Berry and telling him Mr Guy was shot twice.
Mr Guy’s sister and Macdonald’s wife Anna had not been given the news of the death of her brother before Nikki Guy arrived at the house. Everyone stays at the house and Kylee Guy soon arrives, along with Bryan Guy.
The only people at that time who knew Mr Guy had been stabbed were David Berry and Bruce Johnston - and the accused, Mr Vanderkolk said.
Anna did not hear news of the death from her husband – he had called everyone else.
That morning, he had tears in his eyes – “But we know what happens when you ride a four-wheeler at full speed on a cold morning,” Mr Vanderkolk said.
Crown dismisses defence claims of another suspect
In summing up today, Crown prosecutor Ben Vanderkolk disregarded notions raised by defence during the trial that farmhand Simon Asplin may have been responsible.
While Mr Asplin may have been a farm gossip, may not have liked Mr Guy and thought he was arrogant, there was no evidence to suggest he committed the murder.
“Mr Asplin was an open book, an open guy,” Mr Vanderkolk said.
“He told no lies whatsoever to police.”
Crown, defence make closing statements
Over the last three-and-a-half weeks the jury at the High Court in Wellington has heard more than 40 hours of interviews between Macdonald and police, conducted from the time of Mr Guy’s death to Macdonald’s arrest nine months later.
The Crown called 80 witnesses as it built its case against him, while defence lawyer Greg King called just two – Macdonald was not one of them.
Mr King told the court: “You have heard more of Ewen Kerry Macdonald’s account of events than any other witness.”
In police interviews after Mr Guy’s murder, Macdonald admitted to three acts of intimidation directed at Mr Guy and his wife Kylee. They included the torching of an old farmhouse on the family property and vandalising the couple’s new home.
However, Macdonald made the admission only after police confronted him with a confession from his accomplice Callum Boe, who Macdonald had described as an “honest” man who “tells the truth”.
Mr King said despite his client’s right to silence before he was charged, Macdonald answered police questions, gave detectives a tour of the farm and provided a DNA sample.
He says Macdonald did these things while “carrying this deep, dark, terrible secret of his past actions toward the deceased".
“They were despicable. And he will be punished for them.”
Macdonald maintains he did not murder Mr Guy on the morning of July 8, 2010 when Mr Guy was found shot dead at the end of his driveway.
Ewen Macdonald Police interviews
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