The trial of Co Londonderry man Fred McClenaghan for the murder of his former partner Marion Millican has been aborted after the jury was discharged because of ongoing “technical difficulties” involving medical evidence in the case.
Discharging the jury of nine men and three women Mr Justice Horner told them that given their “public spirited commitment to justice” it was only right they be told what they were.
He added that the first involved a medical witness who has undergone an operation and would take up to two weeks to recuperate.
The Belfast Crown Court judge further explained that the accused also had to be examined by a psychiatrist, and that both difficulties would delay the trial and take it over the time allocated for it.
He said that since there was no prospect of the trial finishing before the end of June, as they were promised, he would discharge them from further duty.
Mr Justice Horner said that a new jury would be sworn at the start of the new Crown Court term in September following the summer recess.
This would take place on September 7, with the trial proper starting on September 11 after any legal matters are dealt with.
When the jury was first selected last Monday they were told that in March 2011, 54-year-old McClenaghan, from Broad Street in Magherafelt, had gone to the Portstewart laundrette where Mrs Millican worked armed with a shotgun.
When he left, Mrs Millican was lying face down on the floor, with a fatal shotgun wound to the chest.
Prosecutor Richard Weir QC said that the estranged couple had been in a relationship up until around Christmas 2010, when Mrs Millican ended it – and McClenaghan “was not happy about that”.
He was later arrested in the Kilrea area, where he had gone and spoken to a woman, telling her about the shooting.
The court also heard that following interviews with police, he was subsequently charged with murder.