Compelling case for the defence

CHRIS CHILTON
Last updated 14:00 26/02/2014

BOOK REVIEW: Who Killed Scott Guy? The case that gripped a nation
By Mike White (Allen & Unwin, RRP $37)

It's an interesting title because while journalist Mike White doesn't offer any facts or opinions about who did kill Scott Guy, he presents an abundance of evidence about who didn't.

White investigated the 2010 murder of Feilding farmer, husband and father Scott Guy for a year and sat through the entire five-week trial of the man police charged with Guy's murder: his brother-in-law Ewen Macdonald.

White had exclusive access to defence lawyer Greg King and his team, and the book is unashamedly presented from the perspective that while Macdonald admitted the other reprehensible acts for which he is still in prison, he couldn't possibly have killed Guy.

There are still many uninformed people who believe that if Macdonald had the capacity to kill neighbours' stock and perform callous acts of vandalism and arson against the property of Scott and Kylee Guy and others, he must have killed his brother-in- law as well. No doubt Greg King's sensational dismantling of the Crown's case will not change their thinking, even though the jury who sat through the trial found Macdonald not guilty of that crime.

The police case against Macdonald is depicted as being full of holes, built with shoddy investigation work and based on highly improbable circumstances, certainly enough to create reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury, yet the police clearly still think they had their man, as they have not looked for anyone else in relation to the murder. This is extraordinary.

Police failed to present compelling evidence against Macdonald and left prosecutor Ben Vanderkolk's team in the unenviable position of having to go to almost farcical lengths to try to explain glaring flaws, such as the discrepancy between the size of the dive-boot prints left at the scene of the crime, and the size of Macdonald's feet.

After reading White's book I am convinced of three things.

1: It was not proved beyond reasonable doubt that Ewen Macdonald killed Scott Guy.

2: His killer is probably still at large.

3: New Zealand is a much poorer place without the genius of Greg King, who took his own life in November 2012.

Regardless of any personal opinions you might hold about Ewen Macdonald and what he did do, Who Killed Scott Guy? is the anatomy of a murder case that in the eyes of New Zealand's legal system remains unsolved.

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