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February 13, 2014 at 10:46 AM

New trial for Tacoma trucker accused of molestation

The Associated Press

OLYMPIA — The Washington State Supreme Court has ordered a new trial for a Tacoma truck driver convicted of molesting a 17-year-old relative.

David Gower was convicted in 2009 of incest and indecent liberties after a judge heard testimony from the victim as well as from another relative, who said he had done similar things to her.

Typically, any evidence that’s intended to show that a person is likely to commit a crime is not allowed at trial — instead, courts focus on whether the crime actually occurred. However, from 2008 until it was struck down as unconstitutional in 2012, Washington had a law that said such evidence could be allowed in sex offense cases.

It was under that law that the testimony from the second relative was admitted at his trial. In a 6-3 opinion Thursday, the court said that testimony should not have been considered. The minority agreed that it should not have been considered, but they said a new trial was not warranted because there was enough other evidence to convict him.

0 Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: molestation, Tacoma, Washington State Supreme Court

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