Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Murder trial abandoned over judge's link to dead man

A murder trial has been halted for the second time after the judge realised his wife was distantly related to the man who died.

Ross Tait, 22, and Ryan Cameron, 25, are accused of killing David McCardle in Musselburgh in August last year.

Their first trial, at the High Court in Glasgow, was halted in April after judge Lady Dorrian told the jury that she knew one of the witnesses.

They now face a third trial in October with a new judge and jury.

The second trial took place at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Judge Sean Murphy QC brought proceedings to an end on Tuesday after it had emerged that his wife's aunt was the sister of Mr McCardle's grandmother.

Found dying

Although the judge had never met Mr McCardle, he told jurors: "I appreciate justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done."

Mr Murphy said he had checked the list of witnesses because he knew his wife had a number of relatives in the Musselburgh area.

However, he had not recognised any of the surnames.

He told jurors: "I very much regret circumstances came about in this way."

Mr McCardle, 40, was found dying behind the then Clubhouse Public Bar in Musselburgh in August last year.

Mr Tait and Mr Cameron, both of Musselburgh, are alleged to have attacked him with a hammer, beer keg and a brush handle.

The pair deny murder and serious assault and claim they were acting in self defence and to protect each other.