Everything looks sinister, says lawyer Greg King, when viewed through "the myopic lens of the presumption of guilt".
In closing his defence of murder accused Ewen Macdonald yesterday, he attacked every strand of the Crown's circumstantial case.
The motive of a "deep-seated resentment" which ended in the murder of his brother-in-law Scott Guy?
Ancient history, said Mr King, as the pair had never got on better after travelling together to a conference in Invercargill.
"The evidence is that they were pumped and positive about the future."
Using the double-barrelled shotgun from the Guy farm office? No evidence that Macdonald knew where the firearm was hidden, said Mr King, no evidence linking that gun to the murder.
That Macdonald twice corrected David Berry at the cordon that Mr Guy was shot, not fatally wounded by a knife.
"Fact? It's not even fiction. It's fantasy," said Mr King.
"[Mr Berry's] evidence does not support that."
He asked the jury to think about it logically. If someone had meticulously planned the murder so there was not "one skerrick of evidence", he asked why Macdonald would immediately insist Mr Guy had been shot when only the killer would know that.
The Crown timing did not fit, said Mr King, and neither did the boot prints found at the scene. If they were Proline dive boots, they were not size 9 - Macdonald's size - and more likely to be size 11 or 12. Nothing else linked Macdonald forensically to the crime.
But through the "myopic lens of the presumption of guilt", the Crown would have the jury think the actions and words of his client were sinister. Mr King said some of this was "retrospectively reinterpreted" by some Crown witnesses after his client was arrested and charged.
"When you take your man and you put him in the dock, [the evidence] can be made to fit," said Mr King.
"But when you take a step back, divorce it from the emotion, the sympathy, and when you look at cold, hard evidence - not allegation - then every strand of the Crown case failed."
Mr King told the jury it was important to understand how evidence can be presented, even against other witnesses in the trial.
"I am not accusing Simon Asplin of being a murderer. This is how a case can be constructed, just from the evidence we have heard in this trial."
Mr Asplin, a worker on the Guy farm, arrived at work 15 minutes early without explanation. He drove a sedan. A sedan was seen driving down Aorangi Rd after the murder. Mr Asplin's sister and partner were not home on that morning. He owns a semi-automatic shotgun. He wears a size 12 shoe. He was a regular customer at Hunting & Fishing. He disliked Scott Guy, a grudge dating back to high school.
When Mr Guy returned to the farm, Mr Asplin lost his favourite job of driving the tractors.
When asked who would kill Mr Guy, Mr Asplin replied: "Well, he's pissed a lot of people off".
Later, he said: "The one good thing [about Mr Guy's death] is I'm back on the tractor where I belong."
Mr King said all of those facts could be completely innocent.
"I'm not accusing that man of anything. But it's a clear illustration of how a case can be constructed through the myopic lens of presumed guilt."
The motive, the gun, the bike, the shoes and the risks Macdonald would have taken, said Mr King, did not fit. "If it don't fit, members of the jury... you know the rest."
Justice Simon France will sum up on Monday morning.