The jury in the retrial of Robert Xie has said they are unable to reach a unanimous verdict after eight days of deliberations, prompting Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Fullerton to issue a direction requiring them to reconsider the issues.
The jury of 12 men and women sent a note to the court about 1.30pm on Thursday advising they had not been able to reach a verdict.
Justice Fullerton directed them to reconsider the issues "in order to make a further attempt to unanimous verdicts in this trial".
However, the jury sent another note shortly before 3.30pm reiterating that they could not reach a unanimous verdict.
Justice Fullerton directed the jury a majority verdict of 11 would now be accepted by the court.
"You should clearly understand that there are only two ways verdicts can be delivered in this trial: one, by unanimity, that is by all 12 of you, or by majority of 11 of you. No other numerical configuration will suffice," Justice Fullerton said.
Mr Xie, 53, is accused of murdering five members of his family on July 18, 2009.
The bodies of his brother-in-law Min "Norman" Lin, 45, Mr Lin's wife Yun Li "Lily" Lin, 43, her sister Yun Bin "Irene" Lin, 39, and the Lins' two sons Henry, 12, and Terry, 9 were found in their North Epping home.
He has pleaded not guilty.
After a six-month trial in the NSW Supreme Court, the jury of nine men and three women started their deliberations on Friday, December 30.
"Thank you for your jury note in which you inform me that you have not been able to reach unanimous verdicts in the trial at this time," Justice Fullerton told the jury shortly after 1.30pm on Thursday.
"While I have the power to discharge you ... that power will only be exercised by me if I am satisfied that after further deliberations there is no likelihood of genuine agreement being reached and verdicts returned."
Justice Fullerton said "it is the experience of our criminal justice system that juries can often reach agreement if they are given more time to consider the issues".
She "unreservedly" accepted that the jury had given their "focused and careful consideration" to the evidence over the past eight days but invited them to "retire again and to continue with your deliberations to examine the issues that are the subject of disagreement in order to make a further attempt to unanimous verdicts in this trial".
Shortly before 3.30pm, the jury sent a further note saying they were still unable to reach a unanimous verdict.
Justice Fullerton said they should continue trying to reach a unanimous verdict but a majority verdict of 11 jurors would now be acceptable.
The story Jury in Robert Xie retrial says they are unable to reach unanimous verdict first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.