Mistrial declared in Peter Khill murder case, juror dismissed over conflict of interest

HAMILTON, ONT-  A third trial into the 2016 shooting death of a Six Nations man  will begin Monday, (Nov., 28, 2022) after an Ontario Superior Court Justice declared a mistrial in the high profile trial of Peter Khill who is facing a second-degree murder charge in the shooting death of Jonathan Styres in 2016 .

Ontario Superior Court Justice Andrew Goodman  declared the mistrial in the second day of the hearing at Hamilton’s John Sopinka courthouse.  Khill has pleaded not guilty.

Khill had been acquitted in the first trial in 2016. In 2021 the Supreme Court of Canada ordered a new trial after Supreme Court Justice Sheilah Martin said the first trial judge failed to instruct jurors about how Khill’s role in the shooting should be used to assess how reasonable his conduct was.

Justice Andrew Goodman, two days into Khill’s second degree murder trial, declared the mistrial saying a jury member failed to disclose an “apparent bias.”

Justice Goodman in dismissing the jury said  “an issue has come up that requires me to discharge all of you.”

After excusing the jury Wednesday Justice Good said one jury member  failed to disclose  an “apparent bias,” that  he said could threaten the impartiality of the trial.

Justice Goodman explained the Hamilton Police Service sent an email to the Crown attorneys saying a juror was a volunteer in its victim services division, a  division provides 24-hour emotional support and assistance to people victimized by tragic circumstances.

In the absence  of the jury Goodman questioned the juror about the lack of disclosure and potential for “impartiality ” that, he added “should’ve been disclosed.”   The woman responded saying “Now that  you’re saying it, yes.” She said she didn’t think her volunteer work would influence her in delivering a verdict.

The jury had already been reduced to  to 11 Tuesday after a death in the family of one of the jury members. The member was dismissed.

Crown attorneys argued for continuing the trial with just 10 jurors but Justice Goodman said a problem could develop if a juror became sick in a “post COVID time” with both colds and flus also going around.

Justice Goodman thanked the jury and dismissed them. Over 100 people had been interviewed as possible jurors.

Khill is on trial for second degree murder in the 2016 shooting death of Six Nations’ man Jonathan Styres.

A new jury is expected to be selected Friday, Nov., 25, 2022. Goodman said he wants four extra potential jurors selected providing a jury pool of 16, in case of any problems. The new trial is expected to begin Monday.

The jury will decide whether or not Khill murdered Styres outside Khill’s Binbrook  home Feb., 4, 2016 at around 3 a.m.. Styres 29, was accused of trying to steal Khill’s truck . Police said, at the time, the late-night shooting happened when Styres came onto Khill’s property where Khill, a former reservist, was armed, confronted and shot Styres, who died on scene of “gunshot-related injuries.”

 

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