Not guilty, not proven not an option

Ewen Macdonald has been found not guilty of the murder of his brother-in-law Scott Guy.

He admitted burning down a farmhouse  and vandalising a new home on the Guy property but that doesn’t make him guilty of the murder.

In Scotland juries have the option of a not-proven verdict which neither clears nor condemns the accused but does leave the option of a retrial should fresh evidence be found.

That option isn’t available here and the jury might not have used it had it been. They found Macdonald was not guilty beyond reasonable doubt and he’s been acquitted.

The verdict won’t bring closure for the people involved, it still leaves the question of who committed the murder.

In spite being found not guilty, Macdonald will live under the shadow of the crime and trial until/unless someone else is proved to have done it.

Regardless of the verdict the Guy family is left without a husband, father, son and brother.

Their business and family life has been paraded in front of the court. I hope the media now respect their plea for privacy.

Footnote: RadioNZ reported earlier today that a judge had lifted suppression relating to Macdonald’s accomplice in the arson and vandalism. However, the link no longer works:

Queenstown suppression orders lifted – Radio New Zealand


5 Responses to Not guilty, not proven not an option

  1. JC says:

    In fact, if new evidence is found, he can be retried. A spell in prison for both he and his accomplice might produce such evidence.



  2. homepaddock says:

    JC – Have I misunderstood the law of double jeopardy? I though once you’d been acquitted of a crime you couldn’t be retried.


  3. Andrei says:

    It’s interesting what attracts public attention, or perhaps a media frenzy and what doesn’t.

    Dead prostitutes don’t usually get much ink and dead gang members even less


  4. a few years back we created some exceptions to the double jeopardy rule.


  5. Richard says:

    Information on the suppression is not on line nor is there any mention elsewhere in the media. I heard the report on National Radio yesterday before the verdict was announced and thought this was odd- hope this does not affect the other charges that McD is facing


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