The Sam Davies murder trial has again been adjourned for several days.
The jury was told on Tuesday, March 15, that because one of its members has tested positive for COVID-19, the trial will not continue until Monday, March 22 at the earliest.
The jury of eight women and four men was last in court on Friday, March 11.
Eric Kesel – one of seven Lincoln defendants all facing one count of murdering 23-year-old Mr Davies in May last year – is midway through giving his evidence.
Furthermore, because of another forced extension of the trial, one of the jurors is unable to continue and has been discharged, reducing the number to 11.
The judge in the case being heard at Nottingham Crown Court, The Hon Mr Justice Goss, told the jury on Tuesday afternoon that he was sorry to inconvenience them further and was “deeply appreciative” of their patience.
The trial began on January and was initially anticipated to run for about eight weeks. However, two cases of COVID-19 amongst the jurors and a defendant being unwell for a separate reason has led to some enforced lengthy adjournments.
The trial might now run until mid-April.
Mr Justice Goss told the jury: “Yet again you’ve been inconvenienced and kept waiting.
“As you know, one of your number has got COVID and the consequence of that is that [they] can’t come to court until Monday of next week.
“That means that we are not in a position to proceed with the trial until then.
“That, of course, has the knock-on effect of whether that causes you any unsurmountable difficulties so far as continuing as jurors in this case until, potentially, leading up to Easter. That is a long way off and I hope the trial will not continue until then.
“For one of you I know that is going to cause insuperable difficulties, to which I’m sympathetic.
“In those circumstances, I have come to the conclusion that it’s necessary for that juror to be discharged. They will end their jury service and their involvement in this case when they leave court [today].”
The judge reminded the discharged juror and the rest of the jury that they must not make contact with each other.
“So that there can be no suggestion of that juror playing any part in any decision when you deliberate your verdicts,” added Mr Justice Goss.
He said of the latest delay: “I know it’s deeply frustrating for you. It’s no consolation but it’s deeply frustrating for me too but these are the times in which we are living and I’m very sorry for it.”
The prosecution has already presented its case. Defendants Daniel Heydari, Eimantas Gochman and Joe Jameson have given evidence, plus Kesel in part. Billy Gill has declined to give evidence.
It’s accepted that Gochman fatally stabbed Mr Davies on a grassed area on May 27 last year. Mr Davies died in hospital in the early hours of the following day.
All seven defendants face one count of murder, which they all deny.
They are Billy Gill, 21, of Hatcliffe Gardens; Daniel Heydari, 25, of Chestnut Street; Joe Jameson, 24, of Whitehall Terrace; Eimantas Gochman, 20, of Sturton Close; Eric Kesel, 19, of Browning Drive; and Charlie Wakefield, 21, of Broxholme Gardens.
A 17-year-old boy cannot be legally identified due to his age. Jameson is also accused of making a threat to kill, which he denies.
The trial continues.
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