Second jury dismissed in case of NSW aged care nurse

Second jury dismissed in case of NSW aged care nurse accused of murder

The trial of Megan Haines, 49, who is accused of murdering two women at a north coast nursing home, has been shifted to Sydney for a third trial after the first two juries were dismissed.

It’s alleged the nurse gave lethal insulin injections to 82-year-old Marie Darragh and 77-year-old Isabella Spencer at the St Andrews aged care centre at Ballina in May 2014.

The case was being heard at the Supreme Court at Lismore, but the first jury was discharged after two of the jurors told the judge they had a relationship to some of the 70 witnesses and the nursing home. The trial was reconvened for a second time on Wednesday, but the court received 15 similar applications from jurors who had a connection to the case.

While Judge Peter Garling said it was better for everyone involved that a trial to take place in the area where the offences were committed, he said it was more important to try the case without interruption. Haines has already been in custody for over two years.

“I am satisfied there is a real and substantial risk of a miscarriage of justice occurring if this trial was to continue,” he said. “You are the second jury to be discharged this week. We have had two false starts. If you were an Olympic swimmer I am not sure what would happen – but in the legal justice system we try again.”

Ms Haines has pleaded not guilty to the two counts of murder. The new trial is expected to last for about six weeks.

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A special thanks to our contributors

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Journalist

Journalist

Caroline has a wealth of experience writing within the retirement and aged care sector and is a contributing journalist for the Villages.com.au and agedcare101 blog and accompanying newsletters.

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Ian Horswill

Journalist

Ian is a journalist, writer and sub-editor for the aged care sector, working at The DCM Group. He writes for The Weekly Source, agedcare101, villages.com.au and the DCM Institute fortnightly newsletter Friday. Ian is in daily contact with CEOs of retirement living, land lease and the aged care operations and makes a new contact every week. He investigates media releases, LinkedIn and Facebook for a good source for ideas for stories.

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Lauren Broomham

Retirement and Aged Care Journalist

Lauren is a journalist for villages.com.au, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

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Jill Donaldson

Physiotherapist

Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

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Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

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Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.