There is no doubt that Ewen Macdonald and Scott Guy had problems in the past, Macdonald's lawyer has told the jury.
Macdonald is charged with murdering Scott Guy, his brother-in-law, on July 8, 2010 at 4.43am. The Crown says he killed Guy by shooting him in the throat with the farm's shotgun over tensions about the future of the family farm in Feilding.
The evidence in the trial finished yesterday after the court heard from two defence witnesses. Macdonald did not take the stand.
His defence team this afternoon began to give their closing address, following a four-hour closing by the prosecution.
In spite of the issues between Macdonald and the man he was accused of killing, defence counsel Greg King told the jury not to do what the police did and jump from A to Z.
Macdonald has admitted being responsible for the arson of an old home and the vandalism and graffiti of another on the Guy property.
At the time of the house move there was no animosity or resentment until months later when Guy shocked everyone at the farm meeting saying he wanted to inherit the farm.
"Instead, resentment was from Scott Guy, not from Ewen Macdonald,'' King said.
That was when the problems arose, at least as far as Macdonald was concerned, he said.
"He did that dreadful, shameless, shameful thing and wrote dreadful things on the outside,'' King said of the smashing of Scott and Kylee's new home.
It was gutless and cowardly, but it was directed at property and that was the big difference, he added.
At least one other person knew about Macdonald's involvement in the property damage and arson: Callum Boe, and Macdonald knew that.
"Why go out and murder Scott Guy when someone would link you to the past activity?'' King asked.
And why inflict an unsolved murder on his wife, four kids, two nephews-in-law if he did not want to get caught, he added.
Macdonald would not leave Guy's wife and kids to forever wonder.
King said he would continue his closing address to the jury tomorrow.
CROWN CASE 'FATALLY UNDERMINED'
In opening his closing statement to the jury he told them they had heard about 20 minutes of actual evidence in a more than four-hour address from the Crown.
"Everything you have just heard is wrong," King told the jury.
He said words like "highly unlikely" and commenting about Macdonald's resentment were not evidence and the Crown could not supplant actual evidence with terms like that.
"But he hasn't done it," he told them.
King said there were four reasons why the Crown case was fatally undermined.
The first was the 5am timing of what neighbours heard, whether they heard three bangs, a mystery sedan and the police's suspect list.
He said instead Ewen Macdonald was only going about his day: "They are the actions of an innocent person going about his daily routine.''
King said if the neighbours' timing about seeing 5am on their clocks was true when they heard a noise, then Macdonald could not have done it, as he turned the workshop alarm off at his home at 5.03am.
'FARM SHOTGUN COULDN'T HAVE BEEN USED'
Three bangs in quick succession could not have come from the farm shotgun, King told the jury.
He said the Crown witnesses, neighbours along Aorangi Rd, heard "bang, bang, bang".
That could not be the farm shotgun, he said. It needed to be manually reloaded which took an American expert seven seconds.
King said the Crown had not advanced any alternative theory.
The Crown allegation had been made to fit the time line by saying the clock was fast but it did not make sense, he said.
"You have to ask yourself what links that farm shotgun to the crime and there is nothing."
MYSTERY CAR 'DISREGARDED'
Unidenified tyres marks at the scene from a mystery sedan was something to think about, the jury has heard.
Defence lawyer Greg King said that in spite of a complete lack of evidence that a bicycle was at the murder scene, the Crown still discounted known tyres marks.
The marks were next to a footprint which was cast by the police and sent off for analysis.
"Why would a car be there?" King said.
All the Crown had was theories and not cold hard facts, he told the jury.
Nearby was a cigarette case which was found during the search of the scene.
King also told the jury there was a possibility a semi-automatic shotgun was used, which would explain how the bangs were heard.
Matthew Ireland's evidence was crucial as he saw a car on the road coming from the direction of Guy's home.
He had got to work early and was sitting there several minutes waiting.
"He is there early, unbeknown to Ewen Macdonald …..and he sits there…, smokes, listens to music, he remembers seeing the sedan."
King said with all the time and the publicity and police inquiry, that car had never been identified, in spite of the tyre marks at the scene.
NO LINK TO A BICYCLE
Other suspects, like a man stinking of cigarettes and alcohol or a car seen by Guy in the days before his murder had to be considered.
King said the Crown would have the jury dismiss it all, but not dismiss the fact there was no forensic link to a bicycle being at the scene at all.
He said he was not joking when he suggested that soft soled footwear would be effective for burglars.
There was no real evidence the shooting could only have been done by someone who hated Guy or who was a skilled hunter, King said.
He called it an allegation only and made to fit the suspect.
There is also no evidence that Macdonald wore his dive boots for hunting, only that five years before he wore them around camps.
"That has been translated to using them to stalk by stealth," King said.
Macdonald was the arsonist, the vandal, the writer on the wall and then the murderer, the jury was told.
In his closing address, Crown prosecutor Ben Vanderkolk told the jury Macdonald needed to do a number of things to execute the murder and needed to know Guy's routine.
"He needed to set a trap and needed a decoy. A way to avoid detection, and hunting expertise. He needed cover to commit the offence then the opportunity to conceal and then set up a cover for himself."
Vanderkolk said that on July 8 no one else knew Macdonald's mind, especially not the nice genuine group of people who made up the family.
'KILLING WASN'T RANDOM'
The jury heard the killing was a not a driveby from the road or meant for someone else.
Instead it was carried out by a hunter with deadly prowess in the dark.
Vanderkolk said Macdonald stepped out of the dark and had no need to disguise himself.
He said the killing was not done with a sawn-off shotgun.
It was a confident gunman who takes the shot, he said, someone with a personal interest, who was not worried about being identified.
And someone who could rattle off two shots quickly, Vanderkolk said.
He told the jury they now know the gun was not in a secure location and Macdonald knew where it was. That made it easier to return it, Vanderkolk pointed out to the jury.
Darkness was needed to walk across the paddock to the fence line from where Guy was shot. Vanderkolk asked the jury to consider who was skilful enough to make the shot.
"The accused can, and he did," he said.
IMPOSSIBLE TO MATCH BOOTS TO PRINTS
Forensic evidence about the size of the boots could not be scientific certainty.
Vanderkolk said the jury would have the plaster casts with them when they go to deliberate and they would see how difficult it was to be accurate.
He said the scientist who studied them worked with approximations. "He worked with a range that came from the casts."
The defence have selected three casts as doubtful, but all the casts must be considered, Vanderkolk told the jury.
He said the casts themselves could not reveal the size of the footwear used because of all the variables involved.
The casts can reveal characteristics but unless you have the actual boot from the killer it was impossible to match them, he said.
He said it was hard to get precision because the impressions came from a worn boot.
"It's about acceptable scientific tolerance."
Earlier he said jurors were unable to be satisfied about the fate of the dive boots which Macdonald's wife thought she might have thrown out.
Vanderkolk said Macdonald purchased something in 2004 for $35 at his father's Hunting and Fishing store. There was no invoice but it was the same wholesale price of a pair of Proline dive boots stocked by the store.
Vanderkolk said Macdonald's wife Anna was unable to satisfy the jury that she had thrown out the boots when moving house, she only thought she might have.
Later Macdonald himself told his mother the spare key was in a dive boot, Vanderkolk said. It placed the boots at the Aorangi Rd address.
Macdonald wore size nine. He was wearing size nine dive boots on the day of the murder, the court was told.
INTENSE PERSONAL HATRED
Speaking about malicious notes left in the Guys' mailbox and obscene graffiti on their home, Vanderkolk told the jury the message was: Go away.
The notes and graffiti should be read together to get a sense of the author's intense personal hatred and sense of rejection, he said.
Macdonald admitted writing the words on the Guys' new home, however he has denied knowing anything about the malicious notes left in their letterbox.
"No one knows what Ewen Macdonald was thinking," Vanderkolk said. He added that nobody had the slightest inkling Macdonald was so controlling and deceitful.
Vanderkolk said despite efforts made in 2008 to resolve issues like housing and shareholding, Macdonald was still not happy that everything was in place to accommodate Scott and Kylee Guy on the farm.
Macdonald denied the vandalism and arson until confronted with what former farmhand Callum Boe told the police. Boe admitted the offending with Macdonald.
"He lies until he is confronted by an eyewitness," Vanderkolk said. He added it was safe to assume Boe was the follower under the thrall of Macdonald.
MACDONALD HAD PROVED STEALTH
The killing and stealing of two trophy stags showed how Ewen Macdonald could leave his house with a mission in mind.
Vanderkolk said the two deer were shot in the paddock right beside the house of Craig Hocken, who never heard anything.
Anna Macdonald knew nothing except her husband told her he was going hunting.
His proficiency at shooting was such he could pick off two deer in the dark, Vanderkolk said.
Macdonald admitted doing it with Callum Boe.
"It just tells you so much about the way he thinks," Vanderkolk said.
There was no guilt demonstrated by him over this, or the arson or vandalism or graffiti, he told the jury.
Vanderkolk said Macdonald then went home and climbed into bed with his unwitting and unsuspecting wife.
PLANNED 'WANTON DESTRUCTION'
Ewen Macdonald planned the "wanton destruction" of Scott and Kylee Guy's new home.
Vanderkolk said Macdonald took paint, a brush and an axe of a bicycle to the new home.
He described what he called the trail of destruction, smashed glass and damage.
He said a deeply embedded bitterness which was the only explanation.
Vanderkolk said it was not like he had found the paint and brush at the house, he had planned to take it with him.
Macdonald then disguised his handwriting to the point where his own wife did not recognise it.
He did it under the cover of the legitimate excuse of a trip to Ruakaka with a friend.
ACCUSED 'FELT FAMILY WAS BEING ERODED'
Vanderkolk said Macdonald was faced with his family security being threatened by the altering of the farm structure.
He said the accused felt his family was being eroded. In the time before the murder it led to a boil over at a family event, a rare public display of emotion over working hours.
The court heard the impending birth of the Guys' second son showed a permanence on the farm.
Macdonald directed his anger in open and brazen displays for them to react to, the vandalism, the arson, the graffiti and the letters were "personal in the extreme", Vanderkolk said.
However he said the future plans of both men were wildly divergent and they were never on the same page.
The court also heard conferences Guy and Macdonald attended before Guy's murder led Macdonald to believe there was more disruption coming.
Vanderkolk told the jury that things like Guy's sense of entitlement of inheriting the farm got into Macdonald's head.
Macdonald knew where the farm shotgun was kept.
"No-one knows the depth of his resentment," Vanderkolk said of Macdonald.
Vanderkolk said the fibres of the Crown case had now begun to come together. The lives of the families involved could not be separated, he added.
'A SLIP BY THE MURDERER'
Vanderkolk told the 11 jurors Guy's last chilling view was of the predawn darkness, pierced by the headlights of his truck, as he got out to open the gates closed by his killer.
"He had no sense of risk at that time."
He was confronted when the accused stepped out of the darkness into the beam of the headlights of Guy's truck, Vanderkolk told the jury.
Macdonald told police he had seen lights of the ute through the bars of the gate, but he could not have done, unless it was when he killed Guy, the court heard.
Vanderkolk said it was a slip by the murderer.
He told jurors there was no eyewitness to the killing and the facts could only be proved by reference to circumstance.
Vanderkolk said the Crown did not have to prove each individual fact, but rather the collective of facts that would lead to their case being proved beyond reasonable doubt.
He warned them not to be drawn into a discussion about all the individual facts, but rather the larger picture.
"Don't be scared or frightened out of finding him guilty," Vanderkolk told them.
He told them a guilty verdict would not bring justice crashing down around their ears.
'HE JUST HAD TO GET HOME'
All Macdonald had to do was get back to his home after shooting Guy undetected to get away with murder, Vanderkolk said. Later, the accused would have 300 hectares on the farm to hide his gear.
"He was hiding things, covering his tracks ... had to change his boots for milking and walk out of the laundry as if it was a normal start to the day," he said.
Macdonald had to cover 1.46km of open country road in the darkness.
"That was all he had to do, once he got back to his home on Aorangi Rd, he was in his safe haven," Vanderkolk said.
After milking, he had to wait for the news about Guy, which he knew was coming.
By then he had told two lies and taken steps to cover up the murder, telling the workers that Guy must have slept in, the court was told.
PHOTO OF SCENE SHOWN TO JURY
Vanderkolk said Macdonald also told police he saw Guy lying on the ground from 10m away.
Macdonald had been, he said, "cooling his heels" at home.
Vanderkolk told the jury that when the call came in at 7.17am Macdonald went to the scene, arriving just after the police.
Vanderkolk held up a picture of Guy's body for the jury to see what the people at the scene would have seen.
He said Macdonald would not have been able to see the body and should not have known anything about the wound.
Before he arrived, neighbour David Berry had told the police that he thought Guy had his throat cut.
Vanderkolk said when Macdonald was talking to Guy's father, Bryan, the accused knew Guy was dead.
"Why would he tell him something that led him on a wild goose chase around the farm buildings thinking there had been an accident?"
Bryan Guy then asked police at the scene if his son had been shot but at that stage no one knew, Vanderkolk said.
'ACCUSED KNEW ALL THE DETAILS'
He told the jury Macdonald knew how Guy died before anyone else because he was the gunman.
Vanderkolk said he knew what time Guy had to be up to go milking, "he knew all of it, all the information on how the farm worked, he was detailed about it".
Vanderkolk said the only person who knew what time the farm was firing up and knew what time Guy was going to come out of his driveway was Macdonald. He said Macdonald knew the pattern of timing for Guy getting up for milking.
"No one else knew when to close the gates to Mr Guy's house."
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