The survey of 750 New Zealanders aged 18 years and over, conducted in the days immediately after the verdict, shows almost half of the respondents believed Macdonald was guilty.
When asked “From what you have seen, heard or feel about the case, do you think it is more likely Ewen Macdonald is guilty or not guilty?” 48 per cent said guilty.
A further 20 per cent said not guilty, 28 per cent said they were unsure, and 4 per cent of people refused to answer. …
The survey also showed support for major changes to the criminal justice system similar to those advocated for by Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesman Garth McVicar this week.
This included getting rid of a defendant’s right to silence, which would mean they would be forced to give evidence at the trial. Of those surveyed, 61 per cent thought this was a good idea. …
Three-quarters of people thought juries should be able to return a verdict of “not-proven” alongside “not guilty” and “guilty,” as used in the Scottish legal system. A “not-proven” verdict is essentially an acquittal, but gives juries an option where they feel that the charges have not been proved but they equally cannot say the accused is “not guilty”.