3 Jul 2012

Brother-in-law found not guilty of killing Scott Guy

10:36 pm on 3 July 2012

The widow of slain Feilding farmer Scott Guy ran screaming from court as his brother-in-law was acquitted of a murder charge on Tuesday.

Mr Guy's body was found by a passer-by in the driveway of his farm on 8 July 2010. The 31-year-old had been shot in the neck and suffered at least one other shot.

Ewen Macdonald had to be helped from the dock after the verdict.

Ewen Macdonald had to be helped from the dock after the verdict. Photo: RNZ

The Crown alleged that the accused, 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 the 32-year-old acknowledged that he had damaged property belonging to Scott and Kylee Guy, that did not make him a murderer.

The Wellington High Court jury began its deliberations on Monday at 11.30am and returned about 3.55pm on Tuesday to deliver the verdict after a month-long trial.

Before the verdict was read out, Justice Simon France asked those in the public gallery to respect the process, although he said he knew it was a big thing for them.

Once the foreman uttered the words: "Not guilty", Kylee Guy ran from the courtroom screaming: "He killed my husband", followed by members of her family.

Ewen Macdonald was in tears and appeared to have difficulty standing and had to be helped from the dock by prison escorts. His wife Anna Macdonald, who is also Scott Guy's sister, was also in tears and clung to her father's arm.

Earlier, jurors returned to ask Justice France a question, but this and the judge's answer have been suppressed.

In summing up the case on Monday, Justice France told jurors they had to be satisfied that in July 2010 Mr Macdonald still had the fears and frustrations that led him to damage the Scott and Kylee Guy's new home 18 months before the death.

While the Crown case was based on circumstantial evidence, the judge said there was nothing unusual about that and it did not make the case flawed or weaker.

Justice France said there was no onus on the defence to prove any of the matters raised during its closing address.

Ewen Macdonald has been remanded in custody until 31 July when he will appear at the Palmerston North District Court for a sentencing date on other matters. He has already admitted the arson and vandalism of the Guy home and the theft of two deer from a neighbour.

Bryan Guy, Anna Macdonald and Joanne Guy outside court.

Bryan Guy, Anna Macdonald and Joanne Guy outside court. Photo: RNZ

Guy family grateful for support

Scott Guy's father made a statement outside court on Tuesday, thanking friends and the community for their support since the killing and during the trial.

Bryan Guy said although a father has been lost who cannot be replaced, with strong community and family support and values the family believes there is hope for the future.

However, he said the verdict leaves the family with mixed feelings.

"While we are relieved the trial is over, we're obviously left wondering who is responsible for the death of our son. This verdict does not bring Scott back, does not restore a son and brother to his family. Our lives have been altered forever."

Mr Guy said the family must now focus on what they have - not on what they have lost.

He said that during the past weeks and months their lives have been an open book to the nation and they now wish to close this chapter and and begin to rebuild their lives away from the public eye.

Police accept outcome

Detective Inspector Sue Schwalger led the murder inquiry and said police accept the verdict.

Ms Schwalger said it had been a long, challenging journey for everyone involved in the investigation and trial - particularly for the families.

"Every piece of evidence and every piece of information that was delivered to the police we investigated ... with a vigour - no stone has been left unturned. We will investigate any other information that comes to light."

Police said no one is being pursued, nor are there any active lines of inquiry into the killing of Scott Guy and the death would be referred to the Coroner.