A dental nurse accused of poisoning her boss with mercury after being disciplined is to face a retrial, Blackfriars Crown Court heard today (Tuesday May 14).
Ravinder Kaur, 34, of Ettrick Drive, Bedford, is said to have slipped the toxic metal into practice manager Laura Knowles' coffee.
Ms Knowles, 36, was hospitalised with stomach cramps, nausea, and dizziness after taking a sip at the Shams Moopen Dental Surgery, in Shefford.
Traces of the metal, used in dental fillings, were later found in her stomach, the court heard.
But a jury was unable to reach a verdict on a charge of administering a noxious substance against Kaur.
The panel of eight men and four women had been deliberating for seven hours and 27 minutes.
Prosecutor Samantha Cohen said the Crown Prosecution Service would seek a retrial on a date to be fixed.
She said: "I have taken instructions and consulted with the complainant and we will be seeking a retrial."
Kaur, a trainee dental nurse who started at the practice in November 2011, claimed she had been framed by her colleagues after a series of disagreements in the run-up to the incident on March 16 last year.
She had been disciplined twice by Ms Knowles, including a dressing down for leaving a patient unattended in the dental chair to go on lunch three days before the alleged poisoning.
Kaur turned up late for court today after having to go to hospital for treatment of a suspected broken finger.
She was freed on bail by Judge Deva Pillay ahead of the retrial.
The judge will decide after lunch whether the trial will take place at the same court or Luton Crown Court. Prosecutors want the case sent back to Luton, as all the witnesses and the defendant are from nearby.
But Rupert Bowers, defending, said the case should be heard at Blackfriars Crown Court again due to the publicity it received.
He said: "There has been considerable media coverage, even more so in the local area of Bedfordshire, and that is one concern that the locality has received much wider coverage."
'The other concern is the very next building to Luton Crown Court is one of the branches of the Shams Moopen dental practice.'
Judge Pillay said the case could also be tried in St Albans or Harrow.
The jury foreman, when asked whether they had reached a majority verdict, said: "No, we have thoroughly analysed what was directed to us and deliberated it."
The court will reconvene for a decision on the location of the retrial.
Kaur denies administering a noxious substance with intent to annoy, injure or aggrieve.
She made no comment as she left court.
Case and trial background
Bedford's Kaur breaks down in tears denying charges (8th May 2013)
Mercury side effects are worse if inhaled, jury told (5th May 2013)
Dental manager 'frantic' after drinking mercury (2nd May 2013)
Court told practice manager suffered seizures after amalgam poisoning (30th April 2013)
Dental nurse poisoned boss' coffee with mercury (29th April 2013)
Dental nurse pleads not guilty to poisoning colleagues (9th November 2012)
Woman charged with poisoning appears in court (5th August 2012)
Woman charged over poisoning at dentists (19th July 2012)