'No closure' from Macdonald sentencing

By Hana Garrett-Walker

Ewen Macdonald. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Ewen Macdonald. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Five years behind bars for Ewen Macdonald has not brought any closure to the Guy family, in fact it just reminds the Feilding family how his actions have affected them all as they rebuild their lives.

In the final chapter of the Macdonald court case, which began in April last year when he was arrested for the murder of his brother-in-law Scott Guy, he was today sentenced to five years' imprisonment for unrelated charges.

For the Guy family, today marks the first day of "building a new life''.

"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,'' Mr Guy's father Bryan said in a statement on behalf of the family.

Macdonald, who is the father to four of Bryan Guy's grandchildren, was now no longer part of the Guy family's day to day life, he said.

"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.''

The family was determined to build a new future without anger or revenge, but with love and compassion.

A jury in a High Court trial in June acquitted Macdonald of the murder of Mr Guy, who was found gunned down at the end of the driveway to his rural family home in July, 2010.

During investigations into the murder Macdonald, along with accomplice Callum Boe, admitted six other charges; burning down a home on Mr Guy's property, vandalising another property Scott Guy and his wife Kylee were having built, killing two stag deer, emptying a milk vat, killing 19 calves and burning down a 110-year-old whare.

Sentencing Macdonald today for those crimes, Justice Simon France - who oversaw the murder trial - made particular reference to what he observed as Macdonald's lack of remorse.

Macdonald had written a letter to the judge expressing his remorse at his actions, his shame at what he did, and his wish to convey that to his victims but Justice France did not accept that.

"I saw and heard no sign of remorse; indeed if anything there were statements consistent only with continuing indifference,'' he said.

Macdonald's lawyer Greg King argued that Macdonald was remorseful and he made a genuine effort to turn his life around following the offending, including joining the board of trustees at his children's school.

But Crown prosecutor Paul Murray said the Crown did not accept he had shown extreme remorse, and Justice France agreed.

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

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

He noted the "real breach of trust'' in Macdonald's acts, particularly to Scott Guy's parents who had provided him "with so much''.

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

Justice France ordered a mix of concurrent and cumulative sentences.

Macdonald was sentenced to two years for destroying the whare and three years for burning down the Guys' house.

He was sentenced to nine months for killing the deer, nine months for destroying the milk, 12 months for killing the calves, and two years for damaging Mr and Ms Guy's property.

The two arson sentences were to be served cumulatively, while the remaining four charges would be served concurrently.

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

Police said yesterday they would not be commenting 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

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf02 at 25 Oct 2014 17:33:09 Processing Time: 684ms