Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ewen MacDonald - the dive boot theory.

It never made sense. There's no reason for the killer to have worn  soft soled shoes for stealth, because if it is as said an ambush, the shotgun provided the means for the killer not to have to silently approached Scott - he merely could have fired upon him from a distance. The other aspect is the grass, walking on grass in any type of footwear can be silent. Also as I've read elsewhere the dive boots would be extremely hard on the feet if walking on a metal road as was the farm road, road metal anyway is noisy underfoot whatever the type of shoes.  Of course the hunting companion of MacDonald said he never wore his stalking because they were awkward and caused him to fall over.

For all we know somebody may have arranged to meet Scott that morning, for early risers meeting someone early is not extraordinary. The killer could merely have stood waiting with the shotgun tucked to one side. Scott wouldn't have suspected anything one could presume, other that it was someone known to him. The fact he took shot to the arm raised in protection shows that he knew at some point the shotgun was levelled at him. The gate may not have been closed until the killer left the property. It didn't have to be a burglary gone wrong, it may have been a deliberate 'settling' of scores. Because we now know the killer wasn't wearing a pro line dive boot size 9, it may have been a sand shoe type with a soft sole and the correct number of sole waves as I saw in the photos sent to me.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ewen MacDonald - a pundit's view

After correspondence about the shotgun ammunition:

So we have:
1)      ‘Similar’ ammunition but of a common type – very tenuous link, doesn’t rule out.
2)      A shotgun was used and shotguns available – very tenuous link, doesn’t rule out.
1)      Past history: lying and vandalism and arson and poaching, antipathy between the men – quite compelling reason for suspecting him.
2)      No history of violence or threats – nothing of value either way.
3)      Recent statement that someone would have to go manage another farm or go sharemilking. Ewen did most of the work on the farm, plus wife and four kids – more settled; plus had worked the farm longer; so he would be the logical one to keep. But Scott was the son. – possible motive but weak.
4)      Timing is very tricky. Possible but very close. Light seen going on at house at regular alarm time & Ewen coming out shortly after – no reason to suspect this as anything other than it appears to be.
5)      Nothing to tie Ewen to the murder. No witnesses, no certain id other than footprints. Nothing else out of the ordinary until Scott found.

6)      Ewen owned (in the past) dive boots which had similar soles to the prints but not the same, of a possibly similar size. Nothing to show he still owned them, no certainty of size, no certainty of prints being made by dive boots – very tenuous link, doesn’t rule out.
7)      Puppies – gone missing is all: unaccounted for – doesn’t mean anything.
8)      Cigarette packet: matches those stolen previous night, limited edition. unaccounted for.
9)      Smelly stranger looking for Scott previous night. Unaccounted for.
10)   Strange car in river – unaccounted for.
11)   7 recent burglaries involving theft of guns and ammo – police say not related.
12)   Marijuana crop destroyed by Scott – police say not related.

Have I missed anything? How on earth did this get to court?

Ewen MacDonald - where to now?

Anna MacDonald told the Court yesterday that Ewen had discussed moving to another farm to expand their business prospects, additionally that her mother had confided in her that she was not to be worried because they (she and Bryan) had some positive plans for the future of the family farm (and therefore the shareholders, of whom Anna and Ewen were 2.)

But it is the 'only forensic evidence' the Crown would call as proof positive against MacDonald, the dive boot print, that has become to this point the most revealing evidence of the trial that was of most interest. The boot that made the print was not a size 9 pro-line dive boot, it was either a larger or smaller size, in fact it may not have even been a pro-line dive boot at all. This after the Crown shadowing it's 'dramatic' evidence for weeks. The Crown had to watch as their own witness counted the sole waves on the footprint and compare them to the sole waves on a size 9 pro-line boot. This witness had the previous day told of searching over 30,000 data banks and other sources for a sole pattern that would correspond with the uplifted and preserved print from the crime scene. Sounded good, but I wonder why in the intricate analysis of the match the basic count of shoe waves was not included. The result is now the Crown have a shoe print that wasn't MacDonald's on the evidence the Crown said they would call. The Crown evidence actually exculpates MacDonald, shows that he wasn't the gunman.

Before considering that too deeply, think about the expert testimony. In particular the search of data bases etc. There isn't a nz adult alive that doesn't know of copies arising from Asia and elsewhere of most manufactured goods, accordingly there would be no expectation that those goods would be on a database anywhere. There is also the problem in establishing that the shoe pattern is exclusive to pro line dive boots and on that point somebody sent photos to me that show there were similar or identical patterns on fairly common sand shoes able to be brought within NZ. Then of course there is no direct evidence that MacDonald still had his dive boots on the morning of the shooting or after. Evidence which, in culmination, does not take the Crown case forward  even before we reach the cross-examination to find that the print pattern was not the same as MacDonald's dive boot anyway.

Quite surprisingly evidence emerged yesterday that Bryan Guy's shotgun wasn't examined or seized at the time of the murder, something that had been raised in earlier evidence. That can only once again indicate that the police always focused on a stranger, or somewhat beyond the family having committed the murder. Then most likely only on the circumstances of Callum Boe confessing to arson, and so forth, turned their attention to MacDonald. It was then that police started to piece evidence together against MacDonald, which doesn't include testimony from Boe, using a number of events, and pieces of evidence, that I believe we saw yesterday, don't fit together, never did and never will.

At the moment I can't really imagine how the families are handling the fact that the 'significant' evidence against MacDonald has resulted in being the most significant evidence pointing to his innocence. I hope this family haven't been used. I said at the outset of these blogs, that it looked to be the case, because of the
revolving door of the same witnesses, now I see an even more significant reason - the family may have believed it was Ewen's footprint when clearly it is not. I think it might be a bridge too far of hope that the Crown might now say that Ewen was wearing other shoes, which, like the puppies, were never found. This trial  has taken a very disturbing turn - there is a present danger that a Jury is going to be asked to convict MacDonald on evidence which doesn't exist.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ewen MacDonald - the cigarette packet.

The word is that the prosecution case against MacDonald finishes today. Like many others I anticipate there is some bewilderment that the Crown case hasn't been more conclusive. Yesterday we heard further details about the cigarette packet found on the road near the body. It seems to be a significant piece of evidence, a detective has already confirmed that it cannot be excluded as having come from a burglary some few days earlier. The package had exclusive markings which suggest from Greg King's cross-examination of the detective, he may have a witness able to make some confirmation tying that package to the burglary.

I think the case by the Prosecution hoped to rely on a confession, or some evidence from Boe or someone else putting a shotgun in the hands of MacDonald. The lack of that evidence, in many other jurisdictions such as the States, would have probably seen no charges brought against MacDonald. Instead we see the Crown linking together a chain of events which have other possible explanations as evidence against MacDonald. However, we all 'event's that no one knows have happen used against MacDonald, the puppies, Bryan Guy's shotgun and so on. That's why I think the cigarette packet is very significant, it exists, it's not MacDonald's, it was at the murder scene, it can be speculated upon with some certainty.

We saw yesterday some enormous figures of searches for 'matches' to the dive boots. But in reality they were 'matches' to the type of boot, rather that the boot that made the footprints either before or during the murder. But no such extensive search was revealed as to the background of the cigarette packet which, unlike the boots, was found. I could say we don't know anything other than not necessarily linked crimes by MacDonald the year previous to the killing, then 2 years previous and a third on property no longer connected to Scott Guy 4 years earlier. We know the police were unable to put a shotgun in the hands of MacDonald, we know not a single witness described his reaction that morning to finding out about the shooting as anything other than real. We have our own opinions of a scenario that requires events to work perfectly by time for MacDonald to have appeared 'just woken' when emerging from the farmhouse that morning.

Some readers will recall another case of a farmer killed in recent years which resulted in a trial and an aquittal. We know of burglaries in the district near the Guy farm, and also of the drunk man arriving at the home just previous to the murders, we've heard some talk of drugs and other farmers contemplating that it might have been an event were Scott was mistaken for them. Now we'll hear the defence case, but perhaps first or at some point before the end of the Trial an application by defence counsel to dismiss the charge through want of evidence.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Ewen MacDonald - looking inside.

What do we know about him and how does that fit with his guilt or innocence? First of all we know he was reckless to the extreme in burning the old house on the trailers. However, as we know that house was sold and perhaps MacDonald was so thick he didn't realise that the trailers, worth a great deal, would be badly damaged. In context of the murder charge he faces, the burning of the house can't be connected. It can't have been seen as a direct attack on Scott and Kylee Guy because they didn't own the house. The arson may have been unsettling but it would have been so for all living on the farm. Ewen thought the situation was a joke, maybe he is that stupid. The problem with stupidity and intelligence, scheming and conniving in committing a crime is that they easily fit together. For this murder MacDonald has to have been, by the Crown's account so far, deliberate and smart. Busting up the new home of  Kylee and Scott wasn't smart, but maybe the effort to portray that their marriage wasn't solid was.

Except that we see MacDonald rather that 'fuel the fire' that might have flamed a possibility of a love 'mismatch' infidelity, a jilted former suitor and so forth, 'dumbly' says that the marriage was good, no problems that he knew. Similarly, when it came to the prospect that drugs were involved, cannabis growing on the farm - another sure false track from MacDonald if he was the killer, he says he didn't know of anything of that nature. You could argue I suppose that the denials of the prospect or support of potential false trails was actually super bright, but I tend to think MacDonald's own confidence that his mate Boe wouldn't sell him down the river for the arson shows that MacDonald is at least naive and probably a bit thick. That's the conflict the Crown must resolve, having first provided something tying MacDonald to the murder in a substantial way.

Of course in the coming week, the announcement is made, as though the trial is indeed a multi-scene drama, that expert evidence will be given on the dive boot footprints. Fair enough, apart from the problem that from various accounts the boots had been thrown out, weren't in the house, that one was still around that a key was kept in and so forth. Anna MacDonald on Friday was no longer sure that the boots had been thrown out whereas in earlier evidence she had been absolute. Make no mistake folks, the other aspect of the revolving witness stand, is that the police will be auto-cuing evidence where they can, having the opportunity to go over the next day's evidence with the witness in advance. None of us should be naive enough to not realise the connection when witnesses change, enhance, or dilute testimony after an adjournment. Auto-cuing was exactly the thing that Anna suggested of MacDonald asking if she recalled the dive boots being thrown out onto a trailer during one of the family shifts. Now that is seen to work 'against' MacDonald but the evidence still remain 'unsure.'

Think now of the 'smart' MacDonald carefully laying his plans. Was he so thick that he didn't know the surface would leave footprints and that therefore he should have worn boots a size or 2 large. So bright on the other hand to be able to transport a shotgun of a bike while also foolish enough to expect Scott would be on time when he was frequently late - a big issue in the differences between the 2 men. I went out on a limb of my belief of the innocence of David Bain and more recently George Gwaze and others mentioned elsewhere in this blog. I'm not there with this case, but I am the point that I don't believe I've seen the evidence so far to convict Ewen MacDonald, of being stupid, naively honest - yes, murder no.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Ewen MacDonald: the arson - what was he thinking?

A few points to ponder on the arson and vandalism.

The Arson: MacDonald's explanation to the police and his wife was that it was a joke. It certainly wasn't a joke in way, shape, or form. At least one of those trailers was a purpose hydraulic assisted unit. I saw a 2nd hand one go at auction recently for just under $300,000. The house was obviously been moved for sale, otherwise it wouldn't have been on the house-movers trailer. I don't know who owned it but possibly it was the property of the house movers or someone else who had brought it. All together replacement costs of 2 trailers and a removable house could have been approaching between 6 to 8 hundred thousand, only idiots would start a fire like that and not expect to destroy the trailers. Saying that it was a joke isn't an acceptable explanation and it's pretty obvious MacDonald will be looking at some fairly substantial prison time for that offence which he has admitted. There has been evidence of 'how he was' after the 3 events, the arson, vandalism and murder - cool on the first two distressed on the third. The cool on the first two shows some unusual characteristics to the man, going on with those you have acted against as though nothing has happened. Yet Anna said that the vandalism resulted in a change in Ewen's attitude toward Kylee in that it improved, perhaps that was guilt - there can be little other reason for that because he wasn't considered to be involved at that point in 2008.

The graffiti, vandalism and letters: Kylee didn't read those letters. They exist only as a report which surfaced after Ewen's arrest. We don't know what happened to them but they didn't reach their intended target, Greg King has challenged whether they existed. Whether they existed or not, Kylee never read them. In his interviews with the police MacDonald was adamant that the relationship between Kylee and her husband was good. One could have expected that if MacDonald was the author of those letters, or knew, or was told about the contents, he might have seen that it was an opportunity to 'steer' the hunt away from himself, as he has been accused with the missing puppies. As I understand it the graffiti didn't seek to impart a difficulty in Scott's and Kylee's marriage whereas the letters did. I could see the letters as counter productive to MacDonald's 'cause' by virtue of the reason they may have been likely to cause a difficulty in the marriage possibly driving Kylee away but leaving Scott on the farm. The 'letters' remain a mystery, one possibly that clearly doesn't support 'driving' the couple away, but rather unsettling the marriage - though of course it could be argued that 'slapper' and 'whore' - the graffiti of MacDonald and Boe could be seen as a 'similar' if less direct design toward the same purpose.

The vandalism was a direct act against the couple orchestrated by MacDonald a year earlier than the murder. A correspondent has written that I'm attempting to broaden that distance, perhaps I'm am unwittingly but a year remains a year - a long time in the dynamics of a family relationship and 'competition' between 2 men. MacDonald has caused himself a lot of problems because of those acts and unless we hear from him before the end on the trial his explanation remains that which he gave in his interview and to his wife. The person perhaps capable of shedding some more light on the subject isn't going to give evidence at the trial, and has also been ruled out as a suspect in the murder. So again we have a half a dozen of one six of another situation. Boe was a co-offender in a serious arson, trusted to the point that MacDonald at first covered for him (and himself of course) when questioned by police in the video - but he's been cleared of the murder. So wasn't involved despite being MacDonald's being apparent willing backup in a crime that carries 14 years in prison.

Then back to the less speculative evidence. Today MacDonald's mother confirmed that MacDonald was distressed and crying when he rang her on the morning of the murder, saying that Scott had his throat cut but couldn't be sure. She also said that she hadn't seen the dive boots when she'd been on the farm for several weeks in 2010. While Anna MacDonald was sure they'd been thrown out in 2008, 2 years before the murder. Things that should be working for the Crown don't seem to be unless they're speculative or noted as 'what the Crown says' rather than what a witness or evidence says. MacDonald's father, a gun dealer, was absolutely certain that MacDonald hadn't accessed a shotgun, joining MacDonald's father-in-law with the same certainty that his shotgun had been accessed. Then we go to the 'mystery' man Boe, not Riddick but Callum, the mission accomplice, the co-offender. No information from him that he'd seen his mate with a shotgun that might have been of easy access, the very thing the police needed. Somehow I think if the murder was going to 'break' it might be expected to have done so around Callum Boe. In the absence of that we wait.

Again looking at Callum Boe's and Ewen's  offending, nasty and foolish, but remote from targeting anyone with violence, unlike the killer that morning whoever he or she was.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ewen MacDonald: trial of dramatic effect?

When I first blogged about this trial it was out of concern for what I saw was a potential manipulation of the Jury in favour of the Crown. I said it was because of the entry and exit to the Courtroom of Anna and Kylee to give evidence - ostensibly to keep them from needing to walk past Ewen as though he was a present and constant danger even to his own wife. The other aspect was concern that hearing from distressed witnesses a number of times presents the opportunity for the situation to be seen as one where the Crown might be lacking evidence so they rely on emotion. In this case not so subtle. Neither Anna nor Kylee needed to be called back to give evidence about the puppies today, the could have done that earlier. What did happen however was that Kylee, understandably was upset, and cried - very awful for her of course. But  what could be the impact on the jury, one of sympathy, something to concentrate on, giving them again the opportunity to consider that the distress was the direct responsibility of the man the 2 women needed to be protected from.

Not only that, the analysis continues of the 'atmosphere' between the witnesses and the defendant with the danger of extending into not a trial relying on evidence but one of sympathy, body language and so forth. To me the possibility of that isn't just. No where near it. From another point of view it assumes the Jury are unable to follow what is really not a complicated case. Having said that, one could argue the Crown are trying to complicate the trial with adornments and emotion. One needs to ask is this from the Crown a concession as to the weakness of their case? In all these are not questions that should be being asked. Concentration should be on the evidence or lack of it.

As I understand it the Crown have no proof of MacDonald doing anything with puppies yet they contend he did something with the puppies to throw police off the track. That bears some close consideration: the police don't know what happened to the puppies so that becomes 'evidence' against MacDonald. No one in the world appears to know what happened to the puppies and therefore that is evidence against MacDonald to go along with no motive, aged, unrelated offending, no eye witness evidence of seeing MacDonald that morning apart from seeing the light go on in his house and him emerging apparently 'fresh' from sleep despite cycling to commit an ambush murder of a person that was not guaranteed to be in the position of ambush at the correct time. All this using a weapon that 'might' be the shotgun of Bryan Guy whose evidence was that it hadn't been touched. But don't overlooked the video that was shut down right when MacDonald strongly denied he was the guilty, when he said he'd come clean about the other, aged, offending but he wasn't the killer.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ewen MacDonald - is he getting a fair go?

No, he isn't. Not if you take into account the ex police officers whose convictions were hidden from the Auckland High Court Jury during the Louise Nicholas trial. Those convictions related to exactly the same type of criminal behaviour for which they were on trial.

In MacDonald's case he, along with an off-sider, killed 2 deer from a neighbour's property in 2006, 4 years before the murder of Scott Guy. In 2008 he burned what has variously been described as a derelict house or a house on a trailer for removal from the Scott farm, 3 years before the murder. In 2009 he, with the same off-sider put graffiti on Guy's home, the year before the murder. It's hard for me to fathom why this evidence was allowed. It appears police deliberately ensured that the events were on the video statement made by MacDonald so that it could be later argued that the entire tape should be played to the Jury to maximise the negative impact of the other events. Overall it's clear that police had 2 options running. The 1st that MacDonald when confronted with Callum Boe (his co-offender in the arson, graffiti) would admit the whole sorry mess, including the murder. If he didn't, the police would still have a different picture of MacDonald in front of the Jury, their second and less preferred option. I happen to think they failed, not so much with the prejudicial impact, but by the response of MacDonald to the allegation of murder. He was firm on that,  responding to a police request to fess up, saying that 'it' (admitting to a murder he didn't do) 'wouldn't be the right thing to do.' That strong statement appearing to prompt the police to halt the interview.

Take a look at it. Callum Boe (although he may still do so yet) would have been under immense pressure and inducement from the police to implicate MacDonald in the murder, was probably accused of being an accessory and sweetened with the idea that a little 'inexplicit' statement configuring blame against MacDonald could be worth Boe being looked after, maybe not charged with the other crimes, potentially money, immunity, the list goes on - but, so far - nothing. Nothing to take this floundering case any further. A lot of people didn't like the fact Schollum and Shipton's previous offending of the same type was kept from the Nicholas jury, I wonder what the same people think of this farmer having a yoke put around his neck for which a jury will be asked to 'put from their minds' crime's, some petty, of a dissimilar nature to that for which he is tried.

It will be interesting if Callum Boe is called to give evidence, if he's not called by the Crown that will reflect poorly on their case in my opinion. One thing for sure is that the farmer is getting no apparent favours by having the jury hear of the graffiti etc when we now know that by 2010 things had improved between Scott and Ewen - thanks largely to Bryan Guy making it clear there would no inheritance of the farm and that the men should work together knowing that the value of their 10% share each of the farm could increase and they would have the opportunity to buy more. On the subject of work, MacDonald was a very hard worker, apparently not at all flash but down to earth and determined. Farmers aren't angels, and nobody said Ewen is one but he's looking increasingly not guilty to me.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Ewen MacDonald - evidence still lacking.

The jury got to hear a large part of the video taped interview of  Ewen MacDonald today, some 3 hours gone and one or so more hours to be heard tomorrow. But no confession of any sort to this point, and if there is one in remaining tape, we would have heard about it in the opening address.

In that opening address the Crown highlighted the much earlier acts of vandalism, the burning of a house under transport, poaching that MacDonald has since admitted. He denied those acts in his interview but has since admitted them. I commented earlier that there must have been evidence found against MacDonald for those acts from some accomplice or acquaintance. I offered that person might be selling some admission regarding the murder he or she could have claimed MacDonald made, but that doesn't appear to be the case now. The jury are not sitting on a vandalism or arson trial, rather one of murder - yet evidence of MacDonald's guilt  remains lacking.

One witness today spoke of the efforts of MacDonald on the farm as driving the profit. Another reason that Ewen would have appreciated, that not only was he a shareholder of the farm, but also a capable farmer able to return a profit. Someone able to rely on his skill and hard work for the benefit of himself and family not only on the Guy farm, but on any other farm to which they might consider to move.

Bryan Guy gave evidence which included how after the murder Ewen's salary was increased. Bryan Guy, is of course, Ewen's father in law, the grandfather of the young man's four children. It was Bryan whose shotgun was said to have been potentially used in the killing, a man who had lost his son, who lived on the same farming enterprise. Obviously nothing appeared to Bryan which might have been of concern about Ewen's alleged involvement in the murder.

Today appeared to be the day to 'mark' the forward movement of the case against MacDonald, but we still haven't seen it. We've looked fairly deeply into the lives of this family, seen the common things in any family such as of rivalry, but we haven't seen any admission from Ewen, we've haven't seen a shotgun in his hand, nothing to explain, or evidence to show that he hadn't risen at his normal time, come out to meet his workmate and looked liked he just woken - despite the Crown's unproven assertions.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ewen MacDonald - the big gap.

The prosecution have said the timing in this case was critical. One correspondent has already said that there wasn't enough time for MacDonald to leave the marital home bike to Scott Guys house, wait for Scott to drive to the gate and be shot while getting out of the car to open the gate that had been closed for the purpose of the killing. But there is a massive gap in time and credibility of the police account there. Where was the shotgun taken from and when was it returned.?

I don't know of shotguns having shoulder straps on them, maybe some do. But even with a shoulder strap it would be a hell of a job riding a bike carrying a shotgun over one's shoulder, provided that is that he (MacDonald) not only knew where the shotgun was, but that he could uplift it and return that morning to the farm office. More time in that, whatever way you look at it - accepting that MacDonald or the actual killer didn't want to be seen on the road that morning at all, and definitely not with a shotgun. Too dangerous for MacDonald to travel in that manner, that morning. I'd say implausible.

If you are not convinced recall the early days of the trial, indeed recall this week - Act 2, in the drama without a plot. The jury were told by witnesses that Guy was unreliable, particularly with time. The other men joked that morning about his sleeping in again, obviously a well known and ordered routine. Factor that into the timing. Not only did MacDonald need to transport the shotgun while riding the bike on a public road, or go into the farm office and assemble the shotgun which there is no proof that he knew was there, but he also needed to kill Guy return the shotgun, disassemble and hide it in such particular fashion that Bryan  Guy would say in evidence that he had never been touched from the time he'd hidden until the time he recovered it and locked it away into the firearm safe. Mistake free, hard work to time, according to the Crown. But then there is another big leap in 'faith' we have to believe that MacDonald was not mindful of the obvious fact that Scott Guy would not necessarily be on time that morning, or even going to work.

Put that together in a credible way if you can, and complete your scenario of the witness that saw the light go on at Ewen's house for him to emerge shortly after pale as though having just woken. A bloody big gap in this story.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ewen MacDonald - what motive?

At the outset we heard the motive was that Scott Guy wanted to inherit the farm, presuming therefore that this would have caused the 'exceptional event' of MacDonald to kill his brother-in-law. But both Mrs and Mrs Guy said that while Scott brought the subject up they told him unequivocally that as the farm had come into their hands by purchasing it that was how their shares would be disposed of. They pointed out that both Scott and Ewen were already shareholders. Ewen therefore would have been satisfied that his share of the farm could only be brought from him and not gifted away.

Ewen was in fact in a strong position in terms of the property. He had the opportunity to sell his shares or make an offer to buy more, that is a very satisfactory arrangement and far from one, portrayed here, that it could have been taken from him. His wife confirmed the couple had been a little reluctant to enter the partnership and so one must conclude they would not be necessarily be reluctant to sell their shares and moved on. The couples greatest asset appears to be the high quality farmer that Ewen was, one witnesses saying that he could have got a job 'anywhere.' No motive exists under the Crowns scenario because the major shareholders of the farm have already told the Jury the financial arrangements of the farm. Ewen McDonald and is family were poised to take other opportunities if they so decided, they weren't over committed or in debt, there was no chance of them losing their share - in fact by Ewen's good management they had no doubt increased the value of that share. One could argue the farm needed that MacDonald family more than the MacDonald family necessarily needed the farm.

Yesterday a police officer gave evidence that various scenarios that MacDonald had advanced as the murder scenario were all incorrect. The real story is that those questions were a type of entrapment. Why and how could MacDonald have anything other than an opinion, yet his answers now form some 'guilt' against him - I don't think so. To this point we are seeing one prejudicial point built on another, then repeated  as though to make it a truth. Today we 'learn' that police were able to discount 'drugs or robbery' as a factor. In fact they might have not discovered reasons to believe drugs or robbery was involved, but by the same token that doesn't discount them - purely coincides that they didn't make such a discovery. This, of course implies, because that no such discovery was made, then there must be another reason - look no further than the defendant

So no motive, and still no shotgun in MacDonald's possession, indeed Bryan Guy saying that his shotgun in the farm office had not been touched. You know the one, the one that 'might' have been the murder weapon.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What the hate-siters didn't want to hear.

Fantastic news here for David. His opportunity to speak freely about the effect of his false imprisonment on him, his dealings with the police and Crown over the many years since 1994. Van Beynan tries to blow some wind into the arrangement but even he must acknowledge the significance of Justice Binnie deciding to interview David. Despite what the hate-siters have said for years there are no 'curly' questions for David to answer because the forensic evidence showing his innocence is complete and always was had the investigation been up to scratch and open minded.

On the other hand the request to interview former Detectives Weir and Doyle is significant. There may possible be issues as to self-incrimination which could see them refuse to be interviewed and the inquiry and the public will make of that what they will. I've been very hopeful about this inquiry looking into revealing what went wrong with the Bain investigation and the conduct of Weir, Doyle and others. They will not be happy men, but it is difficult to feel any pity for them as they were pitiless in never investigating Robin Bain, even showing public hatred towards David in Weir's case. There is an under leaf that is in the public interest to be turned over in this case, detectives recording times but not reporting inaccuracies of time on their watches, detectives suddenly 'remembering' events years later that were detrimental to David, the placing of glasses on a chair that were suddenly 'remembered' to have been asked for even though they were on no use to anybody. The witnesses Sanderson and Laney who were lied to when they were told their evidence would be 'corrected' though it never was.

I'd like to know why Weir suddenly became a 'searcher' when he was OIC of exhibits and why his 'search' took place after hours. Why Doyle had no questions how the lens could have been found 'despite' as in the case of the shell in Crewe garden, having been thoroughly searched before. I'd also like to know how Laniet's electronic diary disappeared while in care of Weir as attested to by another witness. Equally, if that diary was why the Crown pathologist Dr Dempster was kept from the scene for many important hours. Also, if that diary showed that the allegations that members of the investigating team had indeed been 'clients' of one of the deceased. It would be helpful for Doyle to explain how he would 'know' that the results of forensic tests would not exculpate David, but charged him anyway. I'd like to know why there was so much haste, why Robin's hands weren't bagged at the outset, why police walked through the entire house that had blood on the walls and floor. It would be helpful to understand why the 'paper run' alibi was 'bolstered' with lies, confusion and omission. My list could go on for a long time, but I'm sure it will not near match the acute reasoning and questioning that has resulted in this move by Justice Binnie, to what seems to me, look behind the formula of a blatant Miscarriage of Justice.

I called for Weir to come clean, clear the air. Maybe he will now or maybe he will be silent. But things are surely not over for he, Doyle and others. Those still involved in the police that were on this case may well see themselves interviewed officially by Justice Binnie or from within the Police. The country still drags around the horror of what happened to Arthur and the horrible way the late Vivian was treated - yet I think we see here that this stone won't be left unturned and that, is for the good of this country.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ewen MacDonald Trial: some unusual reporting.

We've heard that MacDonald keeps his head down, that his wife and sister-in-law enter and depart the Court through a different door in order not to walk past MacDonald.

On page 1 of today's Herald Andrew Koubaridis reports 'that it was clear to some who worked on the Guy farm that something wasn't right between Scott Guy and Ewen MacDonald.' I guess we are to presume this is news or new evidence despite at the opening of the Crown case a 'motive' was presented that MacDonald took his brothers-in-law's life in order to get hold of the farm. Since then we'eve heard there might have been some jealousy between the pair and that there relationship was hot and cold. Additionally, we know that MacDonald revealed what most people know that a shogun shot is not traceable, that he believed who ever shot Scott Guy should get the death sentence. Other headline pieces have said that the men were competitive.

Of course a reporter trying to write a headline needs to put his or hear head in the sand at some time and make something out of nothing. So far, there has been a lot made out of nothing. Many people are competitive, either in family, work, or sport situations. Brother in laws may not necessarily get on all the time, they don't necessarily like one another because after it all it was their partners they were attracted to, not their partner's siblings. Similarly there would hardly be an adult alive in NZ that hasn't had some experience or heard of 'family troubles' over estates, inheritances and so forth - in fact, unfortunately, it's pretty much par for the course in many families. For that reason this case so far, in week 2, hasn't really 'got going' against Ewen MacDonald despite the news bites and headlines. If anything he might now be regarded as a hard worker, an excellent farmer, good workmate and so on, not the makings of a man driven by greed or jealous rage.

I was interested in his demeanour following the discovery of Scott's body, by all reports he was shocked, crying on occasion, to this point no suggestion that he was 'acting' out a role. Consider Len Demler advising neighbours that there was better things for them to be doing than looking for the bodies of his slain daughter and son in law, off hand, detached. There are seldom murders for gain of the type the Crown suggest here in NZ, even less so where the 'advantage' is not readily apparent by direct evidence against a suspect. To date from reports that I've read, Greg King, MacDonald's lawyer, has either blunted suggestions of 'circumstantial motive' or indeed seen  them delivered by way of cross-examination to being negated.. King said it was a 'who dunnit,' clich├ęd language it seemed at the time, but as things process appearing more and more accurate while reporters continue to try and make something from nothing. It's an interesting case to this point, horrible for those concerned of course, but generally abroad I think is the idea that people don't know if MacDonald is guilty and are waiting for that evidence to make it clear before forming the opinions we are all entitled to have of public trials.

Instead we are seeing a type of parade, almost theatre, connived by interpretation of looks, which doors witnesses use, eye contact, lack of eye contact. Will it take a month for us to see revealed how it was that MacDonald 'allegedly' knew that his brother in law had been shot, or to have his actions explained in attempting to frighten his sister in law, and stealing stock? Because to this point hearing that if one, of the two men got a tattoo or a new ca,r the other did is not scratching the surface of guilt. No violence, no violent arguments, threats of violence, a 'may be the shotgun' used is not substance of good reporting - but far more importantly and observation of the openness of Justice seeing to be done in a democracy. Perhaps their are 'accomplices' to come and spill the beans for no 'apparent gain.'

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Ewen MacDonald Trial

To note that calling his wife and sisters-in-law to give evidence up to 5 different times throughout the duration of the trial is fairly unprecedented. I recall this being used in the Bain trail with some police officers, where it might be argued that it was used to lessen the effect in the juror's mind of what the police said on the first occasion under cross examination as compared to less telling cross examination later on less searching evidence.

In the MacDonald trial however, it is possible to view the chronological order of evidence as reinforcing the women's apparent distress in a way that it could be argued was intended to impact a greater impression on the Jury dis favourable to the defendant. This impression is heightened by reports that the two women enter and exit the court by a different door when they are to give evidence, in so doing they avoid walking past MacDonald I think it is. These reports speak about lack of eye contact and so forth, MacDonald keeping his head down. It's a worry that these impressions are potentially brought into the Court room when they could be avoided. Not only is there the stress on the 2 women, but the 'reminders' to the Jury throughout the trial of their understandable distress and the potential impression they feel 'unsafe' walking past MacDonald or are in fact are unsafe being created in the Jury's mind. The continued exposure, and apparent 'distance' between the individuals could lead to the concept that the women somehow 'know' more than what they are allowed or are giving evidence about - another concern, particularly where it must be considered the different approach jurors might bring to their tasks and what impressions might have been made on them in the Court room.

Added to the fact that it was some extended period time, and after Ewen McDonald's arrest, that his father-in-law corrected his version he told the police at the outset as to where the shotgun 'possibly' used in the murder had been kept. I trust Greg King and the Court will be mindful of both situations at the time of summing up. The danger is that Ewen McDonald has acknowledged some form of intimidation against that part of his family before the shooting, that could merely be the answer to the apparent chill in the relationship, but whatever the case, the entire family are entitled to the truth and a fair trial with crisp lines of evidence which avoid innuendo, emotion, hate or pity.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Kent finally pleads guilty..

It had to happen, Kent's situation was too obvious not to be true despite his protestations and manifold pleadings to the Court to the contrary. He always knew he was a publisher and therefore just as liable for the content of what he published on behalf of others.

Granted that he was in a state of denial, choosing to ignore the Trade Me settlement as irrelevant to his own case because he has 'bushy' on side. He probably also decided to ignore the following from the TV3 website where he and his hate-sites members had been proliferate until recently...

Moderation is necessary on a site like because we can be held legally responsible for all content published, we also want to encourage a place where people are free to expound an intelligent opinion without being persecuted or harassed.

Kenty had recently seen the fact that Karam had narrowed the case against him as some kind of victory rather than a tightening of the strait jacket in which Kent belongs. In Kent's celebrations he said because of his apparent vindication (in his own poor mind) that he would be publishing parts of'bushy's' clearly defamatory book. However, his small degree of cunning and common sense took temporarily hold and he only 'published' the book or parts of it where it could not be seen.  Showing that the connection of the defamatory book to the 'dropped' charges was so obvious, even to him, that the removal of the charges was only to expedite Kent's own demise, nothing more.

So an interesting aspect of Kent's reasoning was demonstrated. He accepted that the book contained defamatory comment and dared not publish it on an open site. karam most likely would have noted that. Parker dares not publish the material again, accepting that it is only removed from the proceedings to suit the plaintiff's ends. So Parker originally published it, got sued, then Karam removed that material from the pleadings to narrow the proceedings and see if Parker's defence can survive an application for it to be struck out which Parker has written about himself. Parker celebrated a 'victory,' said the defamatory book, or parts of it, would be published. then crapped himself. Good work from Kent,  showing the shock treatment didn't damage his entire brain.

Well, maybe not because shortly after Kent decides to promote his 'powers' of propaganda and makes the following announcement regarding 'use' of his site:

Each anti-propaganda campaign registered with counterspin gets its own subdomain and is self-managed and self-published.

Of course this is tantamount to Kent's guilty plea, even if ignoring his earlier one of saying he would again publish the 'book' because of his apparent victory - then wisely having second thoughts. The 'announcement' shows that Kent understood all the way along, despite his rejected pleadings in defence, his liability as a publisher. Because his new attempt to profit from propaganda was spelt out to be 'self-published.' Even though this 'self-publishing' defence is long since abandoned by Trade Me, Sella and now TV3 Parker chose to gift a more important meaning to Karam. Parker has effectively admitted the obvious publishing ownership of the material he is being sued over. The material subject to the suit had no such proviso as 'self-published' regardless of whether that was a defence or not. Parker now says it was a defence anyway because it didn't have the proviso 'self-published' - he may take a little while to absorb that.

On another note, TV3, as shown above, is at least the 2nd site after Trade Me to spell out no harassment on  line. Thus placing further into prominence and public consciousness that harassment can take place on the internet. I congratulate them, even accepting there could be elements of self preservation or protection  - it remains a leading statement in the common law as to impose restrictions in speaking in cyber space, just as a good publisher should do. I see it as another step in leading the way back to the simple centuries old understanding of publication of the written word as not somehow lost because of a new frontier extending to a greater market.

In the meantime, I think Kent has firmly shot himself in the foot. He would have been foolish not to have realised his site was being watched, in fact some of the members, and perhaps himself, have boasted of that - even writing 'open' letters to Karam, and 'opinion' pieces. Speaking of opinions Kent has confirmed for all time the opinion held by many that he is simply a liar prepared to hurt others in what ever way he can to get attention or get ahead. He had no feeling for the Bain family, Robin Bain or anyone else, he simply saw an opportunity for himself and didn't care who might have been hurt in the process.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Kent Parker - a little pressy on his birthday?

Well, I know we celebrate Queen's birthday today with a holiday and in certain quarters Kent is considered a bit of an old Queen. He certainly thinks that Joe Karam has given him a present by reducing the Statement of Claim against Parker and Purkiss from 54 to 37 pages and the number of claimed defamatory comments from  around to 200 to approximately half that amount. Anyway Kent thinks it's a present, he even says that the drafted claim makes a 'lot more sense' than the original one.

An interesting event to celebrate if you were halfwit I suppose. Kent doesn't seem to consider that he's still facing a remarkable 100 individual claims. He solely sees it as some sort of victory without apparently considering that because he (Kent) hasn't managed any defence to this point Joe Karam could simply have decided on streamlining the process for Kent - something like helping a wayward soul walk the plank. The 'lot more sense' should be put into perspective against the scathing Judgement last year in the Auckland High Court where his defence was rejected and the Judge acknowledged the 'help' from Karam's own counsel in trying to expedite the process toward Trial. The result of this was an signal from the Judge that costs would be awarded against the defendants Parker and Purkiss for the failed effort of Parker in lodging an acceptable defence. Parker let this fact slip publicly, saying now 'my efforts this time last year were a dismal failure.' This was in response to the idiot 'bush lawyer' congratulating Kent on his 'efforts' which apparently saw Karam discard reference to a book by 'bush lawyer' mentioned in the original pleadings.

I hardly think old 'bushy' should be celebrating being 'culled' at this stage because nothing stands in the way of a simple suit against him once Parker has fallen foul as the 'publisher.' Interestingly, Parker now ignores that the Trade Me abandoned their position of not being the publisher and settled with Joe. Of course I know there is a significant difference between the 2 situations: Trade Me had top lawyers acting for them, covering up the mess left by TM's in house staff, while of course Kent has got sound 'advice' from old 'bushy.' 'How helpful for him,' the real Queen might say.

In a current circulation of gossip doing the rounds on the Trade Me settlement is something Kent might not enjoy hearing on his birthday - that a number of objections raised by Trade Me lawyers about some reported comment in the Statement of Claim were unceremoniously dropped by Karam. The number of pages in the statement of Claim were reduced, (streamlined if you like,) a number of the quotes objected to were withdrawn  and a settlement of some sort was soon reached. I imagine Kent dressed in his tiara and pearl earrings on his birthday wouldn't want to think about that too much - he might get a head ache or even feel sick.

On reflection of how Trade Me had struggled with their status as publisher, Karam might simply have seen that 'less was more' could also be the case with the intellectually barren Parker, made things more simple for him, sort of like painting a picture as one does for toddlers. After all Joe Karam was helpful enough in having his lawyers attempting to help Parker to complete a defence which so obviously is beyond him.

I don't think Parker and Purkiss are going to enjoy the next 'strike out' hearing because they may realise that the efforts last year that were a 'dismal failure' were actually far advanced on whatever it is Parker can now hope to produce that he wasn't the publisher of defamatory material. Simple really.