Scott Guy's murder is a mystery, and while it will hopefully be solved one day, now is not that time, Ewen Macdonald's lawyer says.
Both sides in Macdonald's murder trial have now said all they will say to the jury, after defence lawyer Greg King wrapped up his closing statement in the High Court at Wellington yesterday.
Mr King urged jurors to divorce the case from emotion, saying that if they look at the cold, hard evidence then the Crown case fails. "What happened was a tragedy and should not have happened, but this mystery is not solved. Much more work is required," he said. "One day, hopefully it will be, but it is not today."
Mr King acknowledged Macdonald's history of crimes against his brother-in-law, which included the burning down of an old farmhouse on Mr Guy's property in late 2008 and the vandalism of his house in early 2009.
"Some really stupid, cowardly and gutless crimes occurred, but they occurred against property – don't lose sight of that."
Mr King put it to the jurors that if Macdonald really wanted Mr Guy out of the picture he would have made his death look like a farm accident in order to spare his family the agony of not knowing who the killer was.
He also said the Crown's theory that Macdonald wrote three threatening notes to Mr Guy's wife, Kylee, and put them in their letterbox near the time of the arson, should be discounted because there was only the postie's word they existed.
"That is evidence you can put in the waste basket ... because you cannot have any confidence in the existence of these notes."
The discovery of "wavy" footwear impressions at the murder scene also did not implicate his client, Mr King said.
Crown witnesses said Macdonald owned a pair of size 9 Pro Line dive boots, which police said made the prints. But Mr King pointed out earlier in the trial that size 9 Pro Line dive boots have 29 rows of tread on their sole while three impressions from the scene had up to 33 rows.
"So what does the Crown fall back on? Perhaps they weren't Pro Line dive boots at all. Well, where does that leave the Crown case?"
Evidence that Macdonald was saying Mr Guy had been shot, when everyone else thought his throat had been cut, did not hold any weight either. "If you are the person who killed Scott Guy then why ... would you be correcting people?"
Mr King pointed out that anyone's actions could be made to look sinister if viewed with a presumption of guilt.
He then used Byreburn assistant farm manager Simon Asplin, who was working with Macdonald on the morning of the murder, as an example.
Mr Asplin arrived at Byreburn 15 minutes early that day and was driving a sedan – the same type of car that another farm employee saw driving away from the murder scene, which police were unable to identify.
"A very sinister interpretation can be put on these actions, which may be perfectly innocent," Mr King said.
Ewen Kerry Macdonald, 32, is accused of murdering his brother-in-law Scott Guy, 31, outside his rural home in Aorangi Rd, Feilding, on July 8, 2010.
Macdonald has admitted setting fire to an old farmhouse on Mr Guy's property in October 2008, damaging his house with an axe and painting offensive graffiti on its walls in January 2009, but denies murder.
- The Dominion Post