Murder trial collapses as judge cites ‘legal reasons’

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THE murder trial of Bernardo Durantes has been stopped and the jury discharged from bringing in a verdict with a retrial now having to take place.

Judge Richard Foster stopped the trial at Luton Crown Court on Friday after listening to the opening legal argument from the prosecution and defence in the absence of the jury.

He said the trial of Mr Durantes, 35, who is alleged to have murdered his sisters’s partner Jaime Ball at The Globe Inn, Hanslope had to be halted because of “legal reasons.”

Calling the jury of eight men and four women back into court just before lunchtime he told them that in the interests of justice he had decided the trial must stop and start again to be retried at the ‘earliest opportunity.’

However, that might not be until March 5, 2012 as that was the date fixed for the retrial but efforts will be made to see if the trial can be heard sooner even if it means moving it to another court.

During the trial, which began at the start of last week, the court heard Mr Durantes was living at the pub in Hartwell Road, Hanslope last December.

The pub was owned by his sister Emma who lived there with Jamie, 29, and her six-year-old son from a previous relationship.

Outside and living in a caravan was Mr Durantes and Emma’s mother, Maria.

It was the sale of her home in London which had enabled her daughter to buy The Globe, the court heard. Mr Durantes had also received money from the sale.

In the witness box Emma told the jury she was the landlady of the pub but the licence was in the name of her partner Mr Ball, who she said during the day ran his own business supplying furniture, cutlery and glasses for weddings and corporate events.

She said on the morning of December 28 she got up and was planning to take her son bowling in Milton Keynes with Mr Ball.

But she said she and her brother had a row about his drinking and he went into a rage and claimed he had been “robbed.” He also called her a “whore”

Emma said Mr Ball came to her assistance and told her brother “If you think we are bad people, just leave.” To that she said her brother screamed “I will kill you all first.”

In a fight that followed between the men Mr Durantes was said to have stabbed Mr Ball 14 times with a steak knife. He was rushed to hospital by ambulance but died from his injuries

Mr Durantes pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Ball.