Mistrial declared in special care home death

A mistrial has been declared in the case of two women charged in the death of a special care home resident in northern New Brunswick.

Trial of Patricia and Karen Pitre thrown out after recording equipment fails during testimony

A New Brunswick judge has declared a mistrial in the case of two women charged in the death of a special care home resident.

Patricia Pitre, who owned and operated Pitre Special Care Home near Bathurst, and her daughter, Karen Pitre, who was a care provider at the facility, have both been on trial since last week on charges of criminal negligence causing death and failing to provide the necessities of life.

They were charged following the death of Joseph Harvey Henry, 74, on Nov. 4, 2010.

But Bathurst Court of Queen's Bench Justice Réginald Léger declared a mistrial on Tuesday.

Defence laywer Mikael Bernard, who is representing Karen Pitre, says the judge threw the case out because recording equipment failed on Friday during the testimony of the pathologist.

A new trial date will be set on May 12.

Pathologist Maraf Ubaidat had told the judge and jury that Henry died from septic shock, due to an infected bedsore on his hip.

The sore was a class IV, meaning the sore was deep, extending down through layers of tissue, right down to the hip joint, the doctor had said.

Henry, who had mental and physical illnesses, was also malnourished when he was taken to Chaleur Regional Hospital, the doctor testified.

Henry had been a resident at the Pitre Special Care Home for 29 years.

Four weeks had been set aside for the trial, which began April 30, following jury selection.

The Crown was expecting to call as many as 34 witnesses.

The Pitres were originally scheduled to go to trial in June 2011, but the trial date was pushed back until February 2012 due to the large number of witnesses expected to testify.

The trial was delayed again when the accused hired new lawyers, who needed time to review the file.