The loss of a crucial piece of evidence proved fatal for the Crown’s case against Curtis Vey and Angela Nicholson.

At the start of their retrial Monday morning, Justice Catherine Dawson ruled that a recording of the pair plotting to kill their spouses was inadmissible.

Since the Crown presented no additional evidence, Dawson acquitted them.

“Our role is to proceed only when we think there’s a likelihood of conviction. In this case, without the recording, I didn’t believe we had that,” Crown Prosecutor Lori O’Connor said.

Vey and Nicholson were convicted of conspiring to commit murder in 2016. A key piece of evidence in that conviction was a secret iPod recording of the two discussing the plan to kill Vey’s wife in a house fire and Nicholson’s husband by drugging him and making him disappear. A retrial was ordered last August.

Nicholson and her lawyer hugged as Dawson gave her not guilty judgement.

Defense lawyer Ron Piche said police should have known better than to use the recording without the proper warrants.

“[The judge’s] decision is not to punish the police, but her decision is again to respect the rule of law and our constitutional rights. And that’s what the decision did today.”

Brigette Vey, Curtis Vey’s ex-wife, said on her way out of court that she is “at peace that it’s finally over and everyone can go on with their lives.”

The Crown can still appeal the decision on the recording.