One of Ewen Macdonald's victims wants the former Feilding farmer to serve his full prison term, get some help and come out a better person.
The 32-year-old, who in July was acquitted of murdering his brother-in-law Scott Guy, was yesterday sentenced to five years' jail on six unrelated charges from his nighttime "missions".
As Macdonald has been in custody since April last year he will be eligible for parole in December and a Parole Board spokeswoman has confirmed a hearing will be held that month.
The chances of Macdonald being home for Christmas are slim, however, as 90 per cent of offenders are declined parole on their first attempt.
An early release would not please Colyton farmer Craig Hocken, who had two trophy deer poached from his farm by Macdonald and former Guy farm worker Callum Boe.
"If he gets his five years - good, [he] gets the help he needs," Mr Hocken said.
"He obviously needs some help. Hopefully he'll come out a better person."
In the High Court at Palmerston North, Justice France said the crimes were driven by revenge and a sense of entitlement.
While the offences were carried out with Boe, Justice France said Macdonald was the lead offender.
He was given credit for early guilty pleas, but Justice France noted that Macdonald had denied his wrongdoing until Boe had come forward with an admission and Macdonald was confronted with "overwhelming evidence".
And while Macdonald had written to the court expressing his remorse, Justice France watched Macdonald's early interviews with police and saw no signs of regret.
While the judge mentioned victim impact statements from Graham Sexton and Paul Barber, he did not refer to one the Manawatu Standard understands was submitted by Scott Guy's widow, Kylee.
It was this week revealed Mrs Guy had written to the attorney-general asking for sentences to be imposed on Macdonald cumulatively, calling him "dangerous" and "vindictive".
The judge split the offending into two groups: crimes against the Guys, for which Macdonald was imprisoned for three years, and the other charges.
When Boe was sentenced in Queenstown last year, the judge took a starting point of four years' jail and, after various discounts, jailed him for two years.
Defence lawyer Greg King had asked for a similar starting point for Macdonald.
Justice France said that would normally happen when two people are charged together, but this case was different.
The offending against the Guys was designed to cause "maximum hurt and engineer fear", the judge said.
"Here the actions were completely premeditated, down to disposing of the paint [used to graffiti the Guys' new house] near Taupo.
"There was a real breach of trust, particularly as regards [to Scott Guy's parents Bryan and Jo] who have provided you with so much."
Despite all the damage caused, Justice France didn't order Macdonald to pay any reparation, as he did not have the means to do so.
Away from court, Mr Hocken, who had previously labelled Macdonald a "bad apple", said he had lost money because of the poaching, although he didn't expect a repayment order to be made.
"I've got a small farm here and I really need that money, not to mention the stress it caused."
He would be disappointed if Macdonald didn't serve his full sentence behind bars.
"I'd like him to spend five years in jail at least. He obviously needs some help, he's obviously got a few issues."
In court, Crown prosecutor Paul Murray said each of Macdonald's offences required separate sentences.
"Each offence derives from a sense of entitlement and one that still seems to exist now."
He doubted Macdonald had any remorse.
"The offending against Scott and Kylee Guy was intensely personal with the intention to unsettle.
"[Macdonald] was able to conceal his offending from everyone around him for some considerable time."
But for Macdonald, Boe would not have been involved, Mr Murray said.
"[Macdonald] has said Boe would not have carried out a mission by himself. [Macdonald said] he would not have the balls to do so."
Mr King said everyone could argue all day about who did what, but it could not be denied that Macdonald was older and Boe was "in a sense, vulnerable" to him.
There was also a greater breach of trust in Macdonald's offending against his family, but he had taken "genuine and profound" steps to change.
"He said in his letter he hated the person he'd become and the reality of the extent of the harm and hurt he had caused was instrumental in turning his life around."
Macdonald organised a blessing of the Guys' new house, gave Kylee Guy a tree for her birthday, enjoyed success in a farm competition, was elected to a school board of trustees and undertook a personal development course.
"These were all the actions of a person who realised the idiot he'd become. He regretted intensely the person he'd become."
Mr King said Macdonald's "rehabilitation" was successful and he had done everything except confess to his crimes.
In court yesterday were Macdonald's parents, Kerry and Marlene, as well as Detective Inspector Sue Schwalger, who headed the Guy murder inquiry.
GUY FAMILY STATEMENT
The Guy family have released a statement following today's sentencing of Ewen Macdonald, the man found not guilty of killing Feilding farmer Scott Guy.
The statement, signed off by Scott's father, Bryan, was released shortly after today's hearing in the High Court at Palmerston North, where Macdonald was jailed for five years on arson and vandalism charges.
''Today is yet another reminder of how one person's actions have affected everyone in our family.
''The sentencing today does not give us closure or satisfaction. It is simply a reminder that there are consequences for the decisions that Ewen made.
''One consequence is that Ewen is no longer part of our day to day lives. He has lost our trust and has hurt us deeply and shaken the values which our family hold dear.
''However the turmoil we have been through has brought our immediate family closer together, and it is our future that we now focus on,'' the statement said.
''Our family is now challenged with building a new life. We are determined to build a future not on anger or revenge, not on resentment or sorrow.
''We must build a future for our children and grandchildren on love and compassion, on truth and faith.
''We can only reiterate our heartfelt thanks to all New Zealanders for the support and caring you have shown our family, which continues to give us strength and courage.''
- © Fairfax NZ News
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