A few initial thoughts on what comes next after the not guilty verdict in the Scott Guy murder case
So Ewen Macdonald is found not guilty. That will surprise a lot of punters, I suspect, but not a lot of lawyers or journalists. Early confidence in a guilty verdict has ebbed throughout the case as the evidence has looked weak and Greg King's attacks strong. And within an hour of the verdict, the mood is turning.
After 13 hours the jury decided that there was insufficient evidence to convict Macdonald of his brother-in-law Scott Guy's murder. Whether they believe him innocent or simply that the Crown failed to make the case, we'll never know.
Guy's father Bryan gave an incredibly composed and impressive statement on behalf of the family and elft us all with the one central question:
Who is responsible for the death of our son?
From a media point of view, that's the next big question before the weekend's big wrap up pieces. Many will think Mcdonald has gotten away with it, but the family didn't go there, which is interesting.
What do they think as to who did it? We don't know, but that question suggests they're at least not convinced of Macdonald's guilt.
Their silence on that issue is dignified, but mightn't we wish for more transparency? Perhaps it's too early. But the silence now only adds to the value of that first interview later, be it in terms of magazine money paid to the women involved or in ratings for the news programmes that gets them on screen.
And have no doubt, it's the women - Anna Macdonald in particular as of this afternoon - who have the most value to media from here. The competition will be intense - but in most cases respectful.
The family have asked for privacy; I'm curious as to whether they're serious about that and how long they'll wait to speak. Many conversations have already been had.
Another question is what becomes of Ewen Macdonald. You'd think he doesn't have much of a future in this country upon his release, given the court of public opinion.
This also puts the onus back on police and their response. Do they re-open their inquiries or do they release a statement that they have taken it as far as they can, insinuating they think the jury got it wrong?
Either way, it's another epic fail for the New Zealand Police. They thought the evidence pointed to Mcdonald, but couldn't prove it. How often do they fail in the big cases? From Thomas through Kahui and Bain to Gwaze, the Urewera Four and Kim Dotcom... well.
Already the fingers are being pointed their direction, with Scott Yorke the first off the blocks to say:
Some people will say the system has failed the Guy family, but those people should not blame the court system. They ought to blame the police and Crown for bringing a case that was always going to end in an acquittal and more pain for the Guy family.
I'm sure there will be others.The other point to note is that Greg King's stakes have just gone through the roof. He'll be the second happiest man in New Zealand right now.