Murder trial aborted in Grafton as judge takes ill

A SUPREME Court murder trial being heard in the Grafton courthouse has been aborted due to the presiding judge's ill health.

Supreme Court judge Justice Stephen Campbell addressed the courtroom on Friday morning, the fifth day of the Baryugil murder trial against Coffs Harbour man Donald Gordon, to say he was unable to continue with the trial.

It is believed the decision was made following a doctor's appointment in which the judge was advised to see a specialist.

The day before, the entire jury had travelled to Collum Collum station, west of Baryulgil, for a site visit of the crime scene where Donald Gordon allegedly murdered his friend Danial Cotter.

Cotter's body was found lying in a ditch at the entrance to the cattle station on the morning of November 7, 2013, having died of significant head injuries including multiple skull and facial fractures.

It is not the first time the Supreme Court trial has suffered a setback - on the second day of the trial, March 3, it was revealed one of the jurors had found out he was related to the alleged murder victim, which resulted in the whole jury being dismissed.

A new jury was empanelled last Monday, but less than a week's worth of evidence was heard before the trial came to an end.

The case has been listed for mention in the Arraignments List on April 8, when a new trial date will be discussed.



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