13 Jun 2012

Accused cries in dock as wife gives evidence

8:38 pm on 13 June 2012

The man accused of killing Feilding farmer Scott Guy sobbed in the dock as his wife told a jury the couple's life had never been more perfect than on the day before her brother died.

Ewen Macdonald is on trial at the High Court in Wellington charged with murdering his 31-year-old brother-in-law on 8 July 2010 over what the Crown says were rivalries over the running of the family farm.

The Crown says Mr Macdonald, 32, was concerned about inequalities he perceived in the amount of work he and Scott Guy had to do around the farm and tension arising from that led to the killing.

The defence says while Mr Macdonald acknowledged that he had damaged property belonging to Scott Guy and his wife Kylee, that does not make him a murderer.

While being questioned by defence lawyer Greg King on Wednesday, the accused's wife, Anna Macdonald, also cried as she told the court that on 7 July 2010 she was feeling great about what the future held.

Mrs Macdonald said she was feeling positive about her husband and family life, and was looking forward to the birth of Scott and Kylee Guy's second child. "We were in a really good space."

Anna Macdonald told the court her husband was a perfectionist and there was competition between him and her brother in their work on the farm.

She said Ewen Macdonald wanted to work harder on the farm to show he could do a better job than Scott Guy, and he had told her he was working long hours to provide for her and their four children.

Mrs Macdonald said Scott Guy was critical of her and her husband at a family meeting, and she was hurt by that. She said after the meeting, arrangements were made for the men to work the same hours.

Mrs Macdonald said initially when it was suggested that three couples work the farm - Scott and Kylee Guy, Anna and Ewen Macdonald, and parents Joanne and Bryan Guy - she thought two's company, three's a crowd, but her husband told her it was a good opportunity.

She told the court Ewen Macdonald had turned over a new leaf in his relationship with Scott and Kylee Guy in the time leading up to her brother's death.

But later, being questioned by the prosecution, she acknowledged that on the day before he died she had no idea that her husband was responsible for the arson of Scott and Kylee's new home.

Widow tells of communication problems

Scott Guy's widow told the court on Wednesday about what she perceived as communication problems between members of the Guy family relating to farm matters.

Kylee Guy said that when staff on the farm had a problem, they would talk about it with her husband and he would try and resolve it.

She said he got frustrated because he wanted more meetings to discuss farm matters, but they didn't happen.

Mrs Guy said the main problem on the farm was the lack of communication between her husband, his father and and Mr Macdonald.

She cried as she told the court about her relationship with her husband, saying they were very much in love and totally committed to each other.

Kylee Guy said Scott adored their son, Hunter, and often took him out on the farm.

Father says accused was a good worker

In other evidence, Bryan Guy told the court on Wednesday that Ewen Macdonald was a very diligent worker.

He said the accused came to work on the Guy farm, but the main attraction may have been his daughter Anna.

Mr Guy said one of the main rules when people are new to farming is to observe what goes on around them, and Mr Macdonald was very good at doing that and keen to learn.

He said he realised his son's work on cropping may have involved less time than Mr Macdonald spent on dairying, so Scott was put on the milking roster to try to balance that out.