The man accused of killing Feilding farmer Scott Guy went on "missions" to try and force him out of the district, a High Court jury has been told.
Mr Guy's brother-in-law, Ewen Macdonald, is on trial in the Wellington High Court accused of the murder in July 2010. The 32-year-old denies the charge.
Scott Guy's body was discovered by a passer-by in the driveway of his home in Aorangi Road, near Feilding, on 8 July 2010. The 31-year old was shot twice - injuring his throat, arms, face and hands.
In its opening address on Tuesday, the Crown said Ewen Macdonald was concerned about inequalities he perceived in the amount of work he and Scott Guy had to do around the farm and tension arising from that led to the killing.
However, the defence said while Mr Macdonald acknowledged that he had damaged property belonging to Scott and his wife Kylee, that did not make him a murderer.
Crown says accused felt threatened
Crown prosecutor Ben Vanderkolk told the court Ewen Macdonald felt his position on the farm was in jeopardy as a result of planned developments and the shooting of Scott Guy was the culmination of his efforts to get him off the farm.
Mr Vanderkolk said Mr Macdonald, the husband of Mr Guy's sister Anna, was unhappy with the division of labour on the farm.
The court was told Mr Macdonald had left offensive notes in the Guys' letterbox in an attempt to destabilise them and has admitted going on "missions" to vandalise the couple's property.
Mr Vanderkolk said Mr Macdonald torched an old homestead being removed to free up land for the Guys' new home.
He said that once the new house was nearly completed, Mr Macdonald and a farm hand went through the property systematically damaging the walls and fittings.
The Crown said the accused also admitted vandalising the new house and painting threatening slogans on the outside walls in an effort to force the couple out of the district.
Mr Vanderkolk said Ewen Macdonald explained to police why he used a bicycle when carrying out the vandalism.
"No lights, no motors, no one could hear us. You can just move them out of the way, no one's going to see and if someone goes past, no one will see the vehicle."
Giving evidence for the Crown, farm hand Simon Asplin told the court on Tuesday he was not sure who was supposed to be at work first on the morning Scott Guy died. He said when Mr Macdonald turned up about 5am, they joked about "sleeping beauty" being late for work again, referring to Mr Guy.
Trial a classic whodunit - defence
Lead defence lawyer Greg King told the court on Tuesday that Ewen Macdonald was not responsible for Scott Guy's death and the case is a classic 'whodunit'.
Mr King said Mr Macdonald admitted committing criminal acts in the lead-up to the killing, including the destruction of the old homstead, the damage caused to Mr Guy's new house and stealing deer.
"Those acts have been acknowledged and accepted, but they do not, the defence says, make him a murderer."
A jury of seven men and five women has been selected to hear the trial and the Crown will call up to 107 witnesses, including members of Scott Guy's family.
In November last year, Justice Simon France ruled the trial would be moved to Wellington, as there was concern it could be difficult to get an impartial jury if proceedings were held in Palmerston North
The trial is expected to take between four and six weeks.