A BC Supreme Court Judge has declared a mistrial in a Cranbrook sexual assault case.
Justice Anthony Saunders told the courtroom Wednesday morning he allowed an unfortunate situation to develop during the jury’s deliberation.
Saunders said the 12 jurors were allowed to listen back to parts of the evidence of the complainant while being unmonitored Tuesday evening.
Saunders admitted he did not initially reconvene counsel and the accused to advise them the jury had recalled certain evidence.
He submitted this could result in the jury forming a prejudicial opinion against the accused who was not allowed to be involved in the process.
Saunders and the jury were presiding over the case against Matthew Allen Buxton.
Buxton faced three charges in connection to an October 2016 incident when a local woman alleges she was raped.
In a rare move, Saunders discontinued the jury’s deliberation Tuesday night amidst the revelation the jury recalled evidence unbeknownst to the court.
When court reconvened Wednesday morning, Saunders asserted the trial has sustained irreparable damage and Mr. Buxton’s rights had been breached.
Crown Prosecutor Jillian Vivian tried to submit through case law there are remedial measures the court could take to prevent the jury from forming prejudice against the accused.
Vivian argued all of the evidence could be played back in open court and individuals involved in the mishap Tuesday night could go under oath to explain what occurred.
However, Justice Saunders said there had been fatal wounding to the proceedings and discharged the jury.
He admitted he bares the responsibility for the outcome of the proceedings and apologized to counsel for their wasted efforts.
Counsel is expected to meet Nov. 20th in Cranbrook to determine a date for a new trial to begin.