Accused murderer faces long trial wait

ACCUSED murderer Donald Gordon is facing another 11 months in custody before his Supreme Court case is heard in Grafton, after two false trial starts last month.

At an arraignment on Friday it was decided Gordon, who is accused of murdering his friend Danial Cotter at a property west of Baryulgil, will face a new jury panel for a third time on February 13 next year.

According to the Supreme Court of NSW, the trial at Grafton Local Court is estimated to take 3-4 weeks.

Mr Gordon has been in custody over the death of Mr Cotter since the alleged offence which occurred close to two-and-a-half years ago.

Cotter's body was found lying in a ditch at the entrance to Collum Collum cattle station on the morning of November 7, 2013, having died of significant head injuries including multiple skull and facial fractures.

There is no question from either the Crown or the defence that the fatal injuries were caused by the actions of Mr Gordon, who told police soon after the incident that he had run over Mr Cotter in the car he was driving.

As stated during the initial trial which began on March 2, it will be a question of manslaughter versus murder.

At the Grafton courthouse last month, the Crown prosecution alleged Gordon used a rock to inflict a fatal blow to Mr Cotter after running him over, while the defence argued his fatal injuries were accidentally caused by the vehicle driven by Gordon.

This trial, however, heard less than a day's worth of evidence before the entire jury was dismissed on the basis that one of the 13 jurors found out he was a blood relation of the victim.

A new jury was empanelled the following Monday, but less than a week's worth of evidence was heard before the trial once again came to an abrupt end.

Presiding Supreme Court judge Justice Stephen Campbell addressed the courtroom on the fifth day of the second trial, to say he was unable to continue with the trial due to ill health.

It is believed the decision was made following a doctor's appointment in which the judge was advised to see a specialist.

The day before, the entire jury had travelled to Collum Collum station for a site visit of the crime scene.

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