THE trial of Sayle Kenneth Newson, accused of murdering his girlfriend, mother-of-two Carly McBride in 2014, has been aborted and the jury discharged after they inadvertently heard "highly prejudicial" evidence earlier this week.
After hearing 31 days of evidence during the last seven weeks, the jury were called into Newcastle Supreme Court on Friday morning and discharged.
"On Wednesday afternoon I gave you a direction to disregard certain evidence that involved an allegation against one of the accused that was irrelevant to the charges faced by both of them," Justice Mark Ierace told the 15 jurors.
"I'm sure it would come as no surprise to you that it was highly prejudicial in its nature."
Justice Ierace said the evidence was led mistakenly.
On Thursday, defence barrister Phil Massey, for Mr Newson, and Public Defender Peter Krisenthal, who represents James Cunneen, accused of accessory after the fact in the murder of Ms McBride, made applications to have the jury discharged.
"Even if you think that you as the jury could put that evidence out of your mind it was so prejudicial in its nature there would reasonably be a question of whether it was capable of being put to one side," Justice Ierace told the jury.
"At the end of the day the paramount consideration is that the accused trial is fair.
"Accordingly, I have come to the conclusion that the appropriate course is to discharge you.
"To say this turn of events is regrettable, particularly, after seven weeks is an understatement."
Justice Ierace thanked the jurors for their diligence before they left the courtroom for the final time.
The trial will now likely start again in 2020.
Up until Friday's sudden halt in proceedings, the jury had heard a steady flow of circumstantial evidence that the prosecution said pointed to Mr Newson being responsible for the murder of Ms McBride.
Mr Newson, 41, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Ms McBride at Muswellbrook on September 30, 2014, and dumping her body in bush about 25 metres from Bunnan Road at Owens Gap.