THE trial of a Cainscross man accused of armed burglary and assault was dramatically stopped twice yesterday and two juries had to be discharged at Gloucester Crown Court.
Technical problems with video equipment being used for a witness to give evidence led to the trial being abandoned for the first time – and legal arguments regarding a last-minute disclosure then brought the second trial to a halt as well.
The judge, Recorder Richard Shepherd, apologised to the two juries and to the defendant, Harley Yearwood, 48, who has denied charges of aggravated burglary and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Yearwood is alleged to have led a masked and armed gang of three who stormed into a man’s house in Kings Road, Stroud on February 18 this year.
The victim – Daniel Banks – was repeatedly hit with a cosh and threatened with death by the trio, it is alleged.
During the first day of the original trial on Monday the prosecution said that the mask slipped from one of the trio’s faces and Mr Banks recognised him as the defendant.
Yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon Recorder Shepherd told prosecuting barrister Janine Wood that the Crown Prosecution Service had made a mistake regarding the disclosure of an associated matter – which cannot be revealed for legal reasons – and the trial would have to be adourned until a date to be fixed.
“This is a deeply unsatisfactory outcome,” said the judge.
The first trial collapse, yesterday afternoon, occurred after proceedings were repeatedly disrupted by technical problems. The jury were sent out court half a dozen times because videoed evidence from Mr Banks kept stopping or faltering.
“This is not fair on the jury as they should have uninterrupted account of the evidence,” said the judge.
Yearwood was remanded in custody pending a fresh trial on a date to be fixed.