Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Judge calls witness a liar, but still drops most charges

From "Judge allows rape witness testimony" at the Nashua Telegraph:
After declaring he was certain she had just committed perjury, a judge allowed prosecutors to call a witness who testified Severine Wamala never sexually assaulted her in any way.

Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Robert Lynn expressed frustration with the situation, saying he wished New Hampshire's rules of evidence allowed prosecutors to fully question a witness whom they believe is lying.

"I'm trying to follow the rules of evidence, but it is abundantly clear – there isn't the slightest doubt in my mind – that the witness's testimony we just heard is not candid," Lynn remarked after a hearing outside the presence of the jury.
Photo by The Associated Press

From "Many assault charges tossed" at the Nashua Telegraph:
The judge in the trial of a former Lowell, Mass., high school teacher accused of sexually assaulting three young women dismissed many of the charges in the case Tuesday, ruling that prosecutors hadn’t produced enough evidence for the jury to even consider them....

Two of the three women later recanted ... and testified during Wamala’s trial that police pressured them into making false accusations. The third, a 16-year-old, testified that Wamala had sex with her at least once a month during an 11-month span in 2005 and 2006.

Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Robert Lynn dismissed many of the charges against Wamala after prosecutors finished presenting evidence Tuesday. Jurors still must consider aggravated felonious sexual assault charges involving the 16-year-old, and one lesser felony sexual assault charge involving a 19-year-old woman, Lynn ruled....

Lawyers for both sides expect to make their closing arguments after prosecutors finish questioning Wamala on Wednesday morning, and jurors may begin deliberating soon afterward...

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