Bowed to the jury: Lian Bin 'Robert' Xie. Photo: Danielle Smith
The jury in the trial of the alleged Lin family murderer has been discharged following the emergence of new evidence that may ''change the shape and content'' of the case.
Lian Bin ''Robert'' Xie, 50, is accused of creeping into the North Epping home of his brother-in-law, Min ''Norman'' Lin, in the early hours of July 18, 2009, and murdering him and four members of his family. This included Min Lin's sons Terry, 9, and Henry, 12, his wife Lily Lin and his sister-in-law Irene Lin.
Mr Xie has been on trial in the NSW Supreme Court over the murders for the past month.
But on Tuesday Justice Peter Johnson discharged the jury. He said ''further material'' had been provided to the Crown late last month and given to the defence just over a week ago. Mr Xie's defence then applied for the jury to be discharged, Justice Johnson said - an application the Crown did not oppose.
The exact nature of the new material cannot be disclosed. However, Justice Johnson said it ''may make a substantial difference to the trial of the accused. It may change the shape and content of the trial in significant ways.''
His honour explained to the jury that a delay in the trial for much of the past week was the result of the parties engaging in legal argument in relation to the new material.
''I am conscious that there will be a sense of frustration on your part that you cannot continue and complete that task. However, I am entirely satisfied that the only appropriate course to take in the proper exercise of the administration of justice is to discharge you as the jury.
''This will mean that the trial will start again and proceed before a different jury at a later date.
''I would like to express the gratitude of the court and the community for your service in this trial and the careful attention you have obviously given to the evidence.''
Mr Xie bowed to the jury as they left the courtroom, and the jury's foreman waved to the court.
The matter will return to court on Thursday, with a new jury trial expected to take place next month.