The trial of three men accused of murdering PC Andrew Harper has been stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic.
PC Andrew Harper tragically died after he got caught in a towing strap trailing behind a car on a country road in Berkshire in August 2019.
The Old Bailey jury was discharged on Monday when a third juror began self-isolating after two other members withdrew from the trial last week.
Henry Long, 18, and two 17-year-old boys who cannot be named for legal reasons deny murder.
Mr Justice Edis said he had decided to discharge the jury with “great regret” and a “heavy heart”.
The Judge said it was “not sensible to try to carry on” after a third juror began self-isolating when her father tested positive for the virus over the weekend.
Two jurors in the trial, which started on 9 March, were discharged on Thursday because they also went into self-isolation of fears that they had become infected with the deadly virus.
Mr Justice Edis said although the law permits a trial to continue with nine jurors, the trial into PC Harper’s death had not reached the end of the prosecution case, and the three defendants had a “right to give and to call evidence”.
“The trial cannot finish in the immediate future, and the risk that we will lose another juror or some other person who is essential to its continuation is so high that I have decided that it is no longer in the public interest to take the risk of continuing to convene at court.”
The Judge said he also considered a case of “this importance” should be “if possible” decided by a jury with more than nine members.
He said he was “deeply sorry” to “those who loved” PC Harper for his decision, and said the case would be listed on 1 June for a review hearing.
A spokesperson for Thames Valley Police said:
“Today (23/3), the Judge in the trial has taken the decision to adjourn the trial due to the ongoing situation with COVID-19 and its effect on the jury.
“As a result of this decision, the case will now be subject to a retrial.
“A date for this has not yet been set, and we will update on this as soon as we are able to do so.
“Clearly this is disappointing and will be a very difficult decision for PC Harper’s family to hear.
“However, Thames Valley Police fully accepts and supports the Judge’s decision and recognises the gravity of the ongoing national situation.
“Legal proceedings in the case remain active, and therefore Thames Valley Police will not be making any further statement at this time”.
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