Ewen Macdonald has been acquitted of murder - but it can now be revealed he is facing other serious charges the jury was not told about.
Justice Simon France, who presided over the month-long trial in the High Court at Wellington, yesterday lifted suppression orders allowing the fact the charges existed to be reported. But details on what they are remain suppressed.
Macdonald, 32, was remanded in custody to appear in the Palmerston North District Court on July 31, when a sentencing date will be set.
He is believed to have been returned to Manawatu Prison on Tuesday night after being found not guilty of the murder of his brother-in-law, Scott Guy.
Macdonald has spent 15 months at the prison since his arrest on the murder charge in April last year.
During the trial, the jury was told Macdonald had admitted burning a home on Mr Guy's property to the ground and vandalising another home Mr Guy and his wife Kylee were having built.
He used a splitting axe to smash holes in almost every wall of the new house, and painted abusive graffiti on the walls.
He also admitted poaching two deer, worth tens of thousands of dollars, from a neighbouring farm while on hunting "missions" with an accomplice, Callum Boe, 21, a former farmhand on the Guy farm.
The judge also lifted suppression on the occupation of Macdonald's brother, Blair, who is an experienced police detective.
When the brothers' mother, Marlene, gave evidence, she said Blair's support was invaluable in the days after Ewen's arrest, helping the family understand what would happen next.
When Macdonald appeared in court for the first time charged with murder, Blair sat in the public gallery and cried.
Blair was a detective constable when the handless body of Tony Stanlake was discovered at Owhiro Bay in Wellington.
During the subsequent investigation, he and other detectives spent hours analysing 30,000 texts and phone calls between Mr Stanlake and Daniel Moore - who was eventually convicted of his murder.
Moore's trial was held at the Wellington High Court, where Blair sat and listened to evidence for and against his brother.
In another parallel, Ewen's lawyer, Greg King, represented Moore - who was sentenced to life in prison with a non-parole period of 18 years.
When news broke that Ewen Macdonald had been arrested, police were quick to protect Blair, refusing to comment on the situation and saying his occupation was irrelevant in respect of the murder charge.
But yesterday Wellington police district crime services manager Detective Inspector Mike Arnerich, who headed the Stanlake inquiry, spoke out in support of officers in situations similar to Blair.
"All police officers are part of our communities where they live, work and socialise," he said. "Occasionally their family, friends or associates may find themselves before the courts.
"This does not affect the officer's integrity, professionalism or commitment to police and we always provide appropriate support in these difficult circumstances."
It is understood the Police Association has supported Blair since Ewen's arrest. But it refused to comment, "out of respect for the member's privacy".
Meanwhile, in another previously-suppressed element, a private investigator hired by Macdonald's defence team spoke to residents of Feilding and Palmerston North to discover what they'd heard about the case.
Of the twelve people interviewed, nine filed affidavits of their responses and Justice France said they showed "rumours were rife" about the "alleged dynamics within the Guy and Macdonald families, and about the alleged activities or proclivities of some family members".
In his November 2011 judgment moving the trial from Palmerston North to Wellington, Justice France said some of the rumours disclosed involved alleged events or activities that could provide a motive for the killing.
"It was quite notable that two rumours in particular were repeated by several of the deponents; remarkably one of them by six of the nine people who filed affidavits."
The judge said the rumours "do not accord at all" with the Crown theory of the case and their subject matter would not arise in evidence.
"The evidence also suggests that the speculation of this type was not limited to Feilding but embraced Palmerston North as well."
Later in the judgment, which was suppressed until the trial was over, Justice France said the existence of such rumours was not surprising.
"The shooting from early on seemed a mystery, both as to who and why. This is fertile ground for speculation ...
"There was a nine-month vacuum during which these types of rumour could take seed, and then the opportunity following arrest for more speculation as to why the arrested person, Mr Macdonald, might have done it."