LONDON, Ont. - The mass murder trial involving the slayings of eight men associated with the Bandidos biker gang has been halted with a lawyer excusing himself from the case.

Ted Royle, senior counsel for accused Dwight Mushey, had to withdraw from the case due to his wife falling gravely ill.

Mushey requested that he be given time to find another lawyer, which Justice Thomas Heeney agreed to.

The jury is expected to return to court next Tuesday, when the trial will resume if a new lawyer has been found and properly briefed.

The delay comes at a pivotal point in the trial, as the Crown had anticipated it would be calling its star witness today.

The Crown intends to introduce a man who can only be identified as M.H., a former Bandido who became a police informant in the days after the April 2006 mass killing, which is the largest in Ontario history.

Court had been expected to hear testimony about the night the eight men were killed and how their bullet-pocked bodies were left in vehicles that were later found in a farmer's field near Shedden in southwestern Ontario.

The informant also agreed to wear a wire to collect evidence as police investigated the killings.

The murders have been characterized as an internal cleansing of the biker club.

The Crown alleges the victims were lured to the farm of Wayne Kellestine -- one of the six men accused in the case -- before they died.

Court has heard wiretap evidence suggesting some of the victims were extremely reluctant to attend and were seemingly aware that trouble was coming.

M.H. will likely take the stand for several days as the Crown introduces its key evidence and defence lawyers challenge his credibility.