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The Crown has stayed a drug trafficking case against Michael Kavanagh. ((CBC) )

A drug trial in St. John's came to a screeching halt Tuesday when the Crown moved to stay the proceedings.

Michael Kavanagh, 31, was charged with drug trafficking after police found a stash of two kilograms of cocaine in a trash can in a Torbay service station.

"Frankly, we are surprised by this," defence lawyer Erin Breen said.

To prove its case, the Crown would need to show beyond a doubt that the cocaine found in the April 2009 seizure at Tapper's gas station belonged to Kavanagh.

Because a witness for the Crown changed her story, prosecutor Andrew Brown said a decision was made to stay the charge. He would not be specific about details.

The decision means the Crown has up to one year to pursue the case further.

"Mr. Kavanagh wanted to have his day in court, and this kind of leaves us in limbo," Breen said.

"He's not happy about that."