Alberta Appeal Court orders new trial for man accused of abusing stepdaughters

The Alberta Court of Appeal has ordered a new trial for a Calgary man accused of abusing his two stepdaughters.

CALGARY — The Alberta Court of Appeal has ordered a new trial for a Calgary man accused of abusing his two stepdaughters.

At issue for the court was the delay between when the man was charged and the time he would have gone to trial.

The man, who can’t be named, was charged in 2012 with sexual assault and sexual touching.

In February 2015, the charges were stayed when a judge ruled several delays had breached the man’s charter rights to have a trial within a reasonable time.

The Crown appealed that decision and argued the defence had had a hand in some of the delays over 38 months.

The Appeal Court has agreed and is returning the case to trial with any judge other than the one who ordered the judicial stay.

“It has been said no good deed goes unpunished,” the appeal judges write in their decision. “Unfortunately, this case serves as a classic example of that proverb.”

The judges go on to say that the Crown and defence in Calgary work well together and in this case may have tried too hard to help each other.

In particular, a journal by one of the stepdaughters was in the hands of the Crown, which the Appeal Court says was “presumptively inadmissible.”

The judges say the Crown erred by giving the journal to the defence, and the defence was wrong to accept it. The defence then used a delay in producing the journal as grounds for adjournments.

The Appeal Court also says the judge erred in allowing all that to happen in the first place.

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