Ewen Macdonald sentenced to five years

By Hana Garrett-Walker

Ewen Macdonald in the dock while being sentenced to five years imprisonment. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Ewen Macdonald in the dock while being sentenced to five years imprisonment. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Ewen Macdonald, the Feilding farmer cleared of killing brother-in-law Scott Guy, has been sentenced to a total of five years in prison for six unrelated charges.

In sentencing Macdonald in the High Court at Palmerston North this morning, Justice Simon France said he watched police interviews but "saw and heard" no signs of remorse from Macdonald.

The accused had written to Justice France expressing his remorse, but Justice France said he did not accept that.

Justice France gave Macdonald a discount on his sentence for an early guilty plea but noted that it did not come straight away and he initially denied any involvement.

His attacks on property, particularly Scott and Kylee Guy's, were entirely to engender fear in them, and "completely premeditated", Justice France said, adding that it was difficult to isolate one charge as the most serious.

He did not give Macdonald any discount for a previously clean criminal record, because Macdonald had admitted poaching on numerous occasions.

Macdonald was found not guilty of murdering Mr Guy, 31, after a High Court trial in Wellington.

During the trial the jury was made aware of three other charges the 32-year-old had pleaded guilty to.

He admitted burning down a home on Mr Guy's property and vandalising another property Mr and Mrs Guy were having built.

Macdonald also admitted poaching two deer, worth $17,500, from a neighbouring farm while on hunting "mission" with accomplice Callum Boe.

After his acquittal on the murder charge it was revealed he had also pleaded guilty to three other charges.

He killed 19 calves by hitting them on the head after a farmer caught him and Boe poaching deer in June 2007.

He also burnt down a 110-year-old whare and emptied a milk vat on a neighbouring farm, causing thousands of dollars of milk to be lost.

No members of the Guy family were in court but a short time after the sentence was delivered Mr Guy's father Bryan Guy issued a statement.

It said: "Today is yet another reminder of how one person's actions have affected everyone in our family. The sentencing today does not give us closure or satisfaction. It is simply a reminder that there are consequences for the decisions that Ewen made.

"One consequence is that Ewen is no longer part of our day to day lives. He has lost our trust and has hurt us deeply and shaken the values which our family hold dear. However the turmoil we have been through has brought our immediate family closer together, and it is our future that we now focus on.

"Our family is now challenged with building a new life. We are determined to build a future not on anger or revenge, not on resentment or sorrow. We must build a future for our children and grandchildren on love and compassion, on truth and faith.

"We can only reiterate our heartfelt thanks to all New Zealanders for the support and caring you have shown our family, which continues to give us strength and courage."

Macdonald's parents and brother were in court and he smiled at them as he entered the room. None made any comment outside court, hurrying away from waiting media.

Police said yesterday they would not comment after the sentence.

It is understood Macdonald has been at Manawatu Prison since he was remanded in custody after his murder trial. He has spent 17 months at the prison since his arrest in April last year on the murder charge.

- APNZ

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