Scott Guy verdict: Ewen Macdonald found not guilty
Tue, 03 Jul 2012 3:54p.m.
By 3 News online staff
Ewen Macdonald has today been found not guilty of murdering Scott Guy.
Delivering its verdict at the High Court in Wellington, the jury of seven men and four women disagreed with the Crown’s allegations that Macdonald killed his brother-in-law by shooting him at the end of his driveway in the early hours of July 8, 2010.
When the verdict was read out Mr Guy’s widow, Kylee, ran from the court room and said, “He killed my husband.”
She was comforted by her sisters who ran after her.
Mr Guy’s parents, Bryan and Jo Guy, along with Callum and Nicki – Mr Guy’s siblings – and Macdonald's wife Anna, all broke down in tears.
They were all hugging, holding hands and comforting each other.
Macdonald’s parents, Marlene and Kerry Macdonald, sat behind their son during the verdict. They did not react as the verdict was read out; they steadfastly looked at their son and sat in solitude.
Macdonald looked down as the verdict was read and showed little reaction. He gave a little smile and was very composed.
He will appear in Palmerston North District Court on July 31 to be sentenced for the arson and vandalism of Mr Guy and Kylee’s home in 2008 and 2009, and also the theft of two deer in 2006 from a neighbouring property.
Guy family tell of ‘generosity’
Bryan Guy spoke outside the courthouse shortly after hearing the verdict.
He says the family are grateful for the strong support shown in the community.
“Our family is grateful for the generosity of so many people. It reminds us that the world is full of good people that do really care,” he says. “Thank you for that reminder and thank you all for your love and support.”
Bryan Guy says the family has grown stronger through the tragedy.
“Through this tragedy we have learnt a lot, mostly about ourselves, what we stand for, our values and what’s important to us.
“We must focus on what we have, not what we have lost and we are determined to love and support our children and grandchildren in their future.”
The Guy family has asked for privacy as they look to “rebuild” their lives.
“The last few weeks and months, our lives have been an open book to the nation, we’d now like to close the chapter at this stage and just pause and reflect and have time to get away from the publicity and have time to rebuild our lives.”
Police respond to verdict
Detective inspector Sue Schwalger, who headed up the murder investigation, released a statement this afternoon saying police accepted the decision of the jury not to convict Macdonald.
Ms Schwalger thanked her colleagues and the families involved in the investigation.
“It’s been a long and challenging two-year journey for everyone in the investigation and trial – especially the families, and I want to acknowledge their strength and courage displayed throughout.
“I want to thank the jury for their careful consideration of the facts and I want to thank the investigation team, who worked tirelessly and professionally from the outset through to trial."
She says police will investigate any new information in the case but currently have no other leads.
“Throughout this inquiry police have thoroughly investigated and assessed all the information – if anything new comes to light it will be investigated with the same vigour. However we are currently not investigating anyone else or any other lines of inquiries.”
The death will now be referred to the Coroner.
Two years on from the murder
The decision comes nearly two years to the day since Mr Guy’s murder.
The news of the murder shocked the nation. Police had very few leads on why the farmer and young father had been gunned down. It was labelled an ultimate ‘whodunit’.
But nine months later, in an unexpected twist, his brother-in-law and business partner Ewen Macdonald was taken in for questioning, arrested and charged with his murder.
He also admitted burning down a farm house on Mr Guy and his wife Kylee’s property, vandalising their new house and stealing two prized deer from a neighbouring property.
Macdonald has always denied having anything to do with the murder.
The Crown has spent the last four weeks arguing that Macdonald stewed and fermented at Mr Guy and his wife’s increasing permanence on the farm and went about a course of action to drive them away.
The defence says there was insufficient evidence to support that theory. They say Mr Guy and Macdonald had a healthy relationship at the time of the murder.
In his summary before deliberation, Justice Simon France told the jury that contrary to popular opinion, the case was not a “whodunit”.
He said the case was a murder allegation by the Crown that Macdonald killed Mr Guy, and they must be satisfied the prosecution had proved their case beyond reasonable doubt.
During the four-week trial, the defence called just two witnesses – Macdonald was not one of them. The prosecution called 74 witnesses, many of them appearing more than once.
Justice France told the jury to not give “any significance at all” to Macdonald’s choice not to take the stand. Macdonald was presumed to be innocent and did not have to, Justice France said.
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