April 4, 2022 2.45 pm

Sam Davies murder trial hangs in balance as third juror discharged

COVID-19 impacting the trial again

The future of the Sam Davies murder trial hangs in the balance after a third juror has been discharged today (Monday, April 4).

This is the second member to be discharged from their duties after testing positive for COVID-19.

The first juror to be discharged due to the virus left on Monday, March 28. This followed another member leaving because the trial had overrun and logistical problems meant they were no longer able to participate.

It means the jury hearing the case at Nottingham Crown Court now numbers nine – the minimum with which it can continue.

The trial judge – The Honourable Mr Justice Goss – and prosecution barrister William Harbage QC are also among several people involved in the proceedings to have caught COVID-19. The two of them continued to attend remotely via video link today.

Mr Justice Goss told the jury: “You have lost one of your number, who apparently tested positive for COVID on Thursday of last week.

“I have been discussing with counsel what should happen in relation to this trial.

“A jury trial can continue with nine jurors but no fewer.

“I have made the decision, having heard representations, is that the appropriate course is for that juror to be discharged out of necessity to enable this trial to proceed.”

The trial, which began on January 12, is now in its 13th week. It had been expected to last between eight and 10.

The last of the closing speeches on behalf of each of the seven defendants was completed today.

After Mr Justice Goss has completed his summing up – expected to be tomorrow (Tuesday, April 5) – the jury will retire to begin deliberating its verdicts.

All seven defendants face one count of murder, which they all deny.

They are Billy Gill, 21, of Hatcliffe Gardens; Eimantas Gochman, 20, of Sturton Close; Daniel Heydari, 25, of Chestnut Street; Joe Jameson, 24, of Whitehall Terrace; 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.