Scott Guy's sister had doubts about farm partnership

Last updated 16:55 13/06/2012
Anna Macdonald
ROSS GIBLIN
DOUBTS ABOUT BUSINESS: Anna Macdonald gives evidence in her second appearance on the stand.
Kylee Guy
EMOTIONAL TESTIMONY: Kylee Guy told the court her husband was one in a million.
Ewen Macdonald
PHIL REID/Fairfax NZ
THE DEFENDANT: Ewen Macdonald is accused of Scott Guy's murder.
Scott Guy
SCOTT GUY: Killed outside his farmhouse.

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Scott Guy's sister has spoken about tensions between him and her husband, murder-accused Ewen Macdonald, over the family farm.

Ewen Macdonald has denied murdering his brother-in-law Scott by shooting him twice in the driveway of his home on July 8, 2010.

The Crown has said that Ewen murdered Scott against a backdrop of tension over the future of both men at the Feilding farm. He is on trial at the High Court in Wellington.

Anna Macdonald, returning to the stand today, said Ewen had checked the wage book in the farm office while Bryan Guy was away to make sure he and Scott were getting the same money.

Anna said she knew he had done it and it made her uncomfortable and she told him to ask her father about it.

"He wasn't taking anything but he was looking, checking up."

Anna said she was not sure about going into a business partnership with Scott and Kylee Guy and their parents.

The three couples each had a shareholding in the family farm in Feilding.

"I wasn't so sure, because I don't think three's a great number - two's company and three's a crowd,'' she said.

Ewen and Scott had different areas of interest on the farm she told the jury.

She said they easily slipped into their roles, with her husband preferring the dairy and her brother the stock or tractor work.

Her husband was a perfectionist and very organised, and liked things to run smoothly. He carried a notebook to jot down notes about things as he worked.

Ewen began to work harder round the farm with Scott there to prove he could do a better job, his wife said.

"He wanted to look after us, so he could provide for me and the kids," she said.

One of their goals was to buy another 10 percent share in the farm, she said.

At a meeting in 2006 it was decided that Bryan Guy, Scott and Anna's father, would start to step back and to have regular meetings.

If there were issues, it would be Anna who would speak up about them.

It was more that work was not even between Scott and Ewen, and Macdonald presumed Scott was getting paid more.

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She said the hours got ridiculous.

Anna said she encouraged Ewen to speak about it but he hardly ever did, occasionally speaking to Bryan Guy.

"He would said it's your dad's farm and he can run it how he likes, it's not my place to say," she said.

Ewen and Scott were not very good at communicating and if they had, they might have been able to understand better, she told the jury.

She described them as competitive with each other, Scott making little digs at them for having a family while Kylee wanted to wait to have one.

She was shocked by an attack by Scott at a meeting over the business.

"I was pretty hurt at the time," she said.

Their father stepped in to speak to Scott about it.

"He said things like 'why has Anna got stuff because she never worked a day on the farm' and I wondered why I was being attacked."

Ewen was in disbelief, she said.

At another meeting a week later Ewen was calm and but she was left in tears.

She said both she and Ewen thought it was great moving in to the family homestead and planned to stay on the farm if they could.

However, Scott wanted to know why he wasn't offered the house.

She said it had obviously been building up that we were moving to the house and Scott was "ratty" about it.

Ewen also became wound up about Scott leaving work early after he and Kylee's son Hunter was born.

FARM HOURS NEVER THE SAME

Bryan Guy said Scott and Ewen did different jobs on the farm - Ewen doing long hours with milking and his son some long hours during cropping.

"I recognised that Scott particularly wouldn't do as many hours as Ewen so he could contribute to the milking."

He said he had not seen it as an issue as long as everyone was putting in an effort.

Bryan Guy said Scott would get frustrated about staffing issues, feeling staff were coming back to Ewen all the time to ask about their next jobs when it could be better planned.

He said Ewen did not speak to him directly about any issues although he sometimes heard about things third-hand from Anna.

Ewen could take a lot of the credit for the awards the farm won as he was responsible for the day-to-day running, however Bryan Guy said it was clearly a combined effort of the family and staff.

He said he began teaching Scott the financial aspects of how the farm business worked, thinking he was the obvious choice.

Scott was given the authority to sign cheques in 2010 so that if something happened to his father he would know how to do it.

He said he wanted to get Ewen involved as well although he had not shown him how it worked.

INHERITANCE SURPRISE

Scott thought he could inherit the family farm, which surprised his father.

Scott had harshly criticised the family farm operation at a 2008 meeting that he had wanted called.

The idea was to have quarterly meetings with the shareholders in the Feilding farm: Bryan and Joanne Guy, Scott and Kylee Guy and Anna and Ewen Macdonald.

Bryan Guy said Scott asked for the meeting in 2008 and set an agenda.

"It was a surprise to the rest of us," he said.

He said Anna and Ewen then reacted, trying to put together some things in writing about how they saw it.

Bryan Guy said he felt everyone was calm and collected about it as they all wanted the business to succeed.

At a business meeting, Scott brought up inheriting for the first time, Bryan Guy told the court.

"Perhaps because he was the oldest son," he said.

But it still took him by surprise.

"He seemed to have that expectation but it was not an expectation I had," he told the jury.

Bryan Guy said he then explained to Scott that he had not inherited the business from his father, rather he had to buy him out.

"I thought I put that bed, had talked about it frankly."

He also described how the men worked on the farm.

"Everyone wanted to be boss so better to give them areas of responsibility."

Ewen had worked on the farm since he was 16.

KYLEE GUY: CONFRONTATION UPSET SCOTT

Kylee Guy told the court the family had been celebrating the five-year anniversary of mother Joanne and sister Nikki Guy's clothing shop being open.

Kylee Guy said she saw Ewen and Anna come in late, then Scott came up to her and said they were leaving.

Afterwards, Scott told her Ewen had had a go at him for leaving work early.

"He was really upset about it, that Ewen had talked to him like that."

Kylee told the jury Scott would sometimes sleep in, "He was always a deep sleeper".

If he overslept, someone would call.

"If he did sleep in, he would be so upset, he was devastated he had let the team down."

She disputed that she had said she did not want people to ring the landline, saying she knew how upset Scott would be if he overslept.

He was a softie and kept it all in, not wanting to upset anyone.

"All Scott wanted was to be fair."

Kylee said Scott was "chuffed" for Ewen when he won an award for dairying management.

Scott was excited about the Fonterra award dinner, had bought new clothes, however he came home on the night of the July 7 to say Ewen was not going.

Kylee said there was no reason given why Ewen pulled out.

Scott was always about team building, and he thought Ewen should go because the award was about his operation on the farm.

Scott had also been excited to go to the conference in Invercargill the month before he was killed. He really loved the team building but also the ideas that came out of it. He liked the ideas about dealing with staff and how to praise them.

Scott thought it would be a good idea to go with Ewen, she said. Scott was in touch all the time saying how much he was enjoying it.

He had come back with an idea for a water park on some little-used land.

She said Scott had liked the staff, like assistant farm manager Simon Asplin, but was also frustrated by him.

- Stuff

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