AN attempted murder case following a machete attack in Worcester has been derailed again as a juror self-isolates because of Covid-19 and the trial will now start again next year with a fresh jury.

The troubled trial of Usman Multani, his younger brother Kaasim Multani and Shahenul Alam was due to restart today (Monday) after a three week break.

The victim, Owais Saleem, suffered a fractured skull, a bleed on the brain, a gash to his face near the eye and injuries to his hand and buttock during an attack at around 1am on November 24, 2019.

All three men deny attempted murder, grievous bodily harm with intent and violent disorder following the alleged attack in Wyld's Lane, Worcester.

However, two jurors were not available so the trial could not continue today (Monday) as planned.

One juror was self-isolating because of Covid-19 and the other suffered other health issues which prevented them continuing.

The 'difficult decision' was taken by Judge Nicolas Cartwright to discharge the jury and re-list the case to come back before a fresh jury on February 14 next year.

Judge Cartwright said the choice had been to carry on with 10 jurors 'in the hope nothing else goes wrong'. But if another juror had become ill or had to self-isolate the trial would have to be abandoned, an option which he ruled was 'not practical'.

Another option, again ruled out, was to wait for the juror to come out of self-isolation which would cause a further delay at a time when there is backlog at Worcester with only two courts set up to hear trials.

There had been no response after enquiries were made by court staff about listing the case as soon as possible at another court centre.

Judge Cartwright said: "There is a very large backlog of trials running into several hundreds. To start again tomorrow, assuming we could get sufficient jurors who were available for a three week period, is to retain that impact which has already taken place and to make it irreversible and to add further disruption further down the line, including risks to other trials including a murder trial and also a retrial of serious sexual offences which had their first crown court appearance back in 2016."

He added: "I can't ignore the risks inherent in trying a case with three defendants, five counsel, 12 jurors and a number of witnesses as Covid infection rates continue to rise dramatically at the moment, before full vaccination has taken place and is still some months away."

We have previously reported how the trial of Usman Multani, 27, of Westminster Road, Ronkswood, Worcester, Kaasim Multani, 23, also of Westminster Road and Alam, 31, of Ivor Road, Sparkhill, Birmingham got underway at Worcester Crown Court on June 15 but one of the jurors became ill with Covid-19, creating a delay. Legal counsel for the defence then became ill which led to a negative test and before a further delay has been caused by a sitting judge being on leave, a factor that had been factored in ahead of the trial.