John Travolta case ends in mistrial
Hollywood actor John Travolta was ''upset'' at learning the two people accused of trying to extort £18 million from him over his son Jett's death would have to be retried
John Travolta's extortion case ended in a mistrial yesterday (21.10.09).
A judge has ordered the two people accused of trying to extort £18 million from the Hollywood actor following the death of his son Jett in the Bahamas will face a new trial "in the interest of justice".
Senior Justice Anita Allen - who was overseeing the case - said she was forced to make the decision after a speech broadcast on the TV and radio hinted the jury would acquit one of the defendants.
While the jurors were deliberating, she told the court: "We are concerned in the interest of justice that there has been a communication from the jury room.
"The dilemma that we face is great. I am erring on the side of caution. Justice must be transparent."
Travolta is "upset" by how the month-long trial ended but vowed to "continue to cooperate fully with police".
Paramedic Tarino Lightbourne - who was one of the medical team who treated 16-year-old Jett before he died in January - and his co-accused, former Senator Pleasant Bridgewater, allegedly demanded £18 million from Travolta and threaten to sell a story claiming the couple "intentionally killed" their son.
The jury was still deliberating over their decision when politician Picewell Forbes told an audience at a Progressive Liberal Party convention Bridgewater was a "free woman".
Immediately after Forbes made the claim, his party's deputy chairman-elect, Alex Storr, apologised, announced the information was incorrect and no verdict had been issued.
However, the judge felt she had to dismiss the jurors and order a new trial.
The group had spent a month listening to the case.
Both defendants pleaded not guilty to charges of attempting to extort and conspiring to extort by means of threats.
Senior Justice Anita Allen is yet to set a date for the retrial.