Jury discharged in massacre video trial
A jury has been unable to reach a verdict in the trial of a man alleged to have shared graphic and offensive footage of the Christchurch mosque massacre over a messaging app.
Simon John Hickey had pleaded not guilty to five counts of using a carriage service in a way that reasonable persons would regard as being offensive.
The jury had deliberated for 3.5 hours but the court was on Friday told they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict.
Judge Tracy Fantin discharged the jury on Friday.
Throughout the trial, the court was told Mr Hickey allegedly sent links to the self-edited video to five of his contacts over the encrypted messaging app Signal in March 2019.
The video, which was played to the court, depicted graphic footage of the Christchurch mosque massacre with edited sound effects, music and texts and images.
The messages were allegedly sent just weeks after Brenton Tarrant's attack.
Mr Hickey allegedly sent other messages to the contacts saying he "fixed" the footage and described it as "fun for the whole family".
Another message allegedly outlined how he took parts of the original video and turned it into a game so "everyone can enjoy killing kebabs".
The jury was asked to decide if a reasonable person would have regarded the content shared over Signal as offensive and if Hickey was reckless to that fact.
Mr Hickey's defence barrister Emily Lewsey argued the files were sent to close friends of her client, including his wife, and Mr Hickey knew how they would perceive the messages.
The court was told none of the five people who were sent the links made a complaint to police.
"Because of those friendships he (Mr Hickey) knew what their reactions would be in response," Mr Lewsey said during her closing submissions.
"They were private conversations. He knew the people very well, and he wouldn't have sent it to them otherwise.
Ms Lewsey said the prosecution had failed to prove her client was "aware of the risk" when the links were sent.
Originally published as Jury discharged in massacre video trial