Jury dismissed on first day of nursing home murder trial
THE jury in the Supreme Court trial of accused murderer Megan Haines in Lismore has been discharged after just one day.
A potential conflict of interest arose yesterday when one of the jurors informed Supreme Court Justice Peter Garling they had a relative at the St Andrews Village nursing home in Ballina, where the murders allegedly took place in May 2014.
An entirely new 12-person jury will now be selected before the six to eight week trial restarts.
Presided by Supreme Court Justice Peter Garling, the jury is expected to hear from more than 50 witnesses, including police, St Andrews staff, and medical experts, before they deliver their verdict.
The prosecution will allege that on the night of May 9, 2014 St Andrews nurse Megan Haines, 47, administered fatal doses of insulin to Isabella Spencer, 77, and Marie Darragh, 82.
The two elderly women were found unresponsive the next morning at 7am and were unable to be resuscitated.
Outside court, one of Ms Darragh's daughters, Ballina resident Jan Parkinson, said the two-and-a-half-year pre-trial period had been a "long hard slog" which had taken a toll on her health.
"It's been 29 months to the day," Ms Parkinson said.
Ms Parkinson said she was looking forward to the trial.
"My health has deteriorated and we need to get on."
Another of Ms Darragh's daughter's Charli Darragh, said her mother would have just celebrated her 85th birthday if she was alive today.
"There is a lot of emotions running through us at the moment," she said.
"She was everything," she said of her mother.
"None of us would be here without here."
Ms Darragh said her mother was a lifetime resident of the Lismore and Ballina area and ran several businesses with her husband, including pubs and a removals business.
Since her mother's death she has started a non-profit organisation called Angels for the Elderly, to provide more support for residents of nursing homes outside staff and immediate family.
The trial reconvenes on Wednesday.