Why mistrial was declared in alleged stalking case
THE case of a Far Northern couple who police allege stalked a former deputy mayor was declared a mistrial because of numerous interruptions.
Bingil Bay couple Steven Paul Toogood, 55, and Julianne Toogood, 59, pleaded not guilty to one count each of unlawful stalking.
The pair is accused of sending private photos of former Cassowary Coast deputy mayor Ricky Taylor to numerous people on multiple occasions between in May-June 2017.
The Cairns District Court previously heard the pair allege the photos breached council's code of conduct and circulated the photos for the council to take action against Mr Taylor.
With about half of the 15 witnesses listed having given evidence already, defence barristers Tim Grau and Joseph Jacobs applied for mistrial.
Mr Grau argued that the number of interjections by the prosecution and the judge during his cross examinations while the jury was in the courtroom negatively impacted proceedings.
Mr Grau said he had concerns about the interjections from "day one".
"At one point, it impacted on my flow and train of thought," he said.
"I departed from a lot of my questioning to try to regain my concentration."
Judge Clare said that while the interjections did not result in "grounds for bias", she was concerned about the "sheer number of interruptions''.
"A judge has to ensure a trial is fair. The total atmosphere may risk the jury's fair consideration of the defendants," Judge Clare said.
The trial began last week but was restarted when a new jury had to be empanelled.
The matter will come before the court again on October 12.
Originally published as Why mistrial was declared in alleged stalking case