With news that Ewen Macdonald is unlikely to win the Manawatu Farmer of the Year Award in the foreseeable future, the question people are now asking is whether the jury got it wrong in his murder trial.
Thanks to numerous crime and forensics TV shows we are all now experts in criminal investigations. As a result of shows like Criminal Minds we now know that a person who commits cruelty against animals and likes to set fires is a high risk of turning into a serial killer.
If we apply this reasoning it is clear who killed Scott Guy. Special Agents Hotchner, Morgan and Rossi would be in no doubt as to who the murderer was.
It's a shame that jury members don't get the opportunity to watch episodes of shows like CSI and Criminal Minds while they are deliberating. I know some people say they're only TV shows, and that the real job of investigating crime is not even remotely as efficient or speedy as it appears on the telly, but I reckon that's just a cop-out. The make-believe crime-fighters on our TV screens are making the real ones look bad, so it's time the real ones lifted their game. We expect immediate turnaround on those DNA results, and we expect each lab person to be an expert in every field of science and technology.
And another thing: why are most of our real cops and detectives so average-looking? I don't wish to sound sexist, but it can't be a coincidence that the women characters on CSI solving crimes in record time are all slim, well-dressed and sexy. Maybe the police need to review their recruiting practices.
Back to the Macdonald jury. They knew about the damage to the Guy home, but they didn't know the full extent of the charges Macdonald was facing. They were only entitled to consider the evidence before them, and that evidence did not point to Macdonald being the murderer. So while the verdict was arguably "correct", it doesn't mean Macdonald didn't kill Scott Guy.
It now seems as if the Crown case was lost when the Crown failed to convince the judge that details of Macdonald's various nefarious activities ought to be admissible. Had the jury had evidence of all the offences Macdonald has now pleaded guilty to, their verdict may well have been different, but that is mere speculation and we won't ever know for sure.
But let's not lose sight of the real villains here. If the police had been as efficient as the CSI guys they would have nailed the killer of Scott Guy within a day.