July 3, 1996: Becky Middleton, 17, found lying on a public road at Ferry Reach at 3:30 am, stabbed several times and suffering other severe injuries. She dies a short time later. Justis Raham Smith, 17 and Kirk Orlando Mundy, 21, arrested.

July 13, 1996: Smith charged with premeditated murder and Mundy with being an accessory after the fact. The decision for different charges has since been widely criticised as hasty and based on incomplete forensic evidence.

October 16, 1996: Mundy pleads guilty to being an accessory after the fact and is sentenced to a term of five years' imprisonment (from a legal maximum of seven).

October 21, 1996: Smith committed from Magistrates' Court for trial in the Supreme Court following a preliminary inquiry.

January 9, 1998: A new development before Smith's trial: He and Mundy are jointly charged with murdering Becky. The reason for the joint charge is (more recent) forensic evidence showing the murder was committed by more than one person. It also shows that more than one person carried the victim from the spot where she was fatally wounded to the middle of the road.

Mundy applies for an order quashing the new charge: relies on the fact that he has already pleaded guilty and was sentenced as an accessory after the fact ('double jeopardy').

February 6, 1998: A Supreme Court judge dismisses the above application.

March 26, 1998: Court of Appeal allows appeal from Mundy and orders the Attorney General not to prosecute him for the murder. The Court rules a conviction of murder would be inconsistent with a conviction as accessory after the fact.

July 6, 1998: Privy Council dismisses the Crown's request for permission to appeal the Court of Appeal decision.

November 23, 1998: The trial of Smith alone begins for murder: the Crown alleges that two people were involved after Mundy's semen is found inside the victim.

The Privy Council later terms the circumstantial evidence that both men were involved in the murder as "strong": evidence from which the jury could have concluded that the victim was in the presence of Smith and Mundy shortly before the killing and that the two were still together shortly afterwards.

The Crown has a statement from Mundy implicating Smith in the murder but declines to call him on the ground that he is not a truthful witness. The defence does not press the trial judge to ask the prosecution to put Mundy in the witness box for cross-examination.

Smith's lawyer makes two submissions at the close of the case for the Crown: (1) that the judge should stop the case because it was an abuse of the process of the court; and (2) that there is no case for Smith to answer.

In a ruling that the Privy Council later describes as "surprising", trial judge Vincent Meerabux rules the circumstantial evidence "inconclusive to connect the defendant with the commission of the crime... I rule that the quality of the evidence is poor and the inferences which the prosecution are asking this Court to draw from the circumstantial evidence are inferences which in my view no reasonable jury could properly draw."

The jury returns a not guilty verdict on the judge's instruction.

An inquiry that followed concluded that inexperienced prosecutors and a lack of high-tech investigative equipment contributed to the collapse of the prosecution.

The case proceeded to the Court of Appeal and ultimately returned to the Privy Council - see panel below.

- Research by Coggie Gibbons