Ewen Macdonald 'elated' by acquittal
Elation was the first thing Ewen Macdonald felt after being acquitted of murdering his brother-in-law, Scott Guy, defence lawyer Greg King says.
"Absolutely, he was elated.
"His life was on the line, he knows that," Mr King told The Dominion Post.
A jury of 11 handed down a not guilty verdict to Macdonald, 32, on Tuesday, after a month-long trial in the High Court at Wellington.
He had been accused of shooting Mr Guy, 31, outside his rural Feilding home in July 2010.
Mr King, who was enjoying some down-time at the Shane Cameron vs Monte Barrett fight in Auckland last night, said his client did not say much after the verdict was delivered.
"But certainly, on the day, straight afterwards, he was obviously extremely relieved that he wasn't going to prison for the rest of his life."
Mr King said he had not spoken to Macdonald since then but he expected "every emotion in the world" would be running through his head right now.
Macdonald remains in custody, awaiting sentence for poaching two deer from a Feilding farm in 2006, burning down an old farmhouse on Mr Guy's property in 2008 and vandalising Mr Guy's new house in 2009, as well as three further charges which are subject to a suppression order.
Mr King said his client pleaded guilty to those charges shortly after his arrest in April last year and always knew they would come with a jail sentence, so he was not bitter about the 15 months he has already served.
There had been no discussion of what Macdonald might do when he was finally released, Mr King said.
Macdonald had been fortunate to have the support of his parents, Kerry and Marlene, and brother Blair - a police detective - since his arrest in April last year.
They attended as much of the trial as they could and even bought the suits Macdonald wore in court, Mr King said.
Mr and Mrs Macdonald released a statement yesterday saying the jury made the right call. "After talking to Ewen at every prison visit possible and hundreds of phone conversations we are no longer 'confused and bewildered' but rather totally at peace with the knowledge that we at least have his truth."
Their son had no words big enough to express his remorse or apologies for the crimes he committed against Scott and Kylee Guy, they said.
"The trial has been brutal for many, especially Kylee and the Guy family. Ewen knows he is responsible for that as well as the physical crimes he committed."
The Dominion Post