OLYMPIA — The Washington 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 girl as well as from another relative, whom Gower was previously convicted of molesting.
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 other 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.