1 Nov 2013

Coroner not reopening Scott Guy case

9:57 pm on 1 November 2013

A coroner has ruled an inquiry into the killing of Feilding farmer Scott Guy will not be reopened.

Mr Guy was killed by a shotgun in the early hours of the morning while opening the gates at his Aorangi Road property in July 2010.

His brother-in-law, Ewen Macdonald, was charged with his murder in 2011 and was acquitted in a High Court trial a year later.

Palmerston North coroner Carla na Nagara has resisted efforts by Scott Guy's widow to get the inquiry into his killing reopened. She says how the man died has been established in the course of the police investigation and court trial.

Ms na Nagara says it would be beyond her powers as a coroner to open an inquiry to establish who killed Mr Guy. She also says there would be no other suspects who could be called to such an inquiry.

A member of the Law Society's Criminal Law Committee says establishing who killed somebody is not an essential purpose of coronial inquiries.

Philip Morgan, QC, says that if the coroner had got involved in determining who killed Scott Guy after the acquittal it could be seen to undermine the criminal trial process.

"It might be regarded as a bit unseemly for somebody to acquit it and then for there to be a second inquiry, if you like, which comes to a different conclusion.

"Our principle in our criminal law, generally, is that there's one trial which decides the issue of guilt or otherwise."

Mr Morgan says the Coroners Court isn't a backstop jurisdiction.

Right call, says father

Scott Guy's father believes the coroner has made the right call.

Bryan Guy says that from what he understands of the coroner's role and responsibilities, it seems like she has done a very thorough job and he doesn't have any issues with her decision.

He says it marks the end of legal inquiries into the unsolved death. "We all wanted to know who did kill Scott, and get some definitive answer to that, but really it's not something we've been focusing on at all."

Mr Guy says the family is trying to carry on with life and move on from the case.