A state appeals court on Friday overturned the conviction of a southern New Jersey man convicted of sexually abusing his daughter beginning when she was 5, and ordered a new trial.
The three-judge panel wrote that some testimony shouldn’t have been admitted at the man’s trial because it was unfairly prejudicial.
The man, identified by the initials C.W.H., was sentenced to 24 years in prison after his daughter came forward and reported the alleged abuse in 2015. She testified the abuse lasted until she was 12 years old, in the mid-1990s.
At the trial, prosecutors played video of the man’s interview with police, during which he denied many of the allegations or said he didn’t recall. They also presented testimony by the State Police detective who conducted the interview.
In Friday’s ruling, the appeals court concluded that the detective’s testimony that he felt the defendant was being deceptive was prejudicial and “impermissibly colored the jury’s assessment of defendant’s credibility.”
The court also said certain parts of testimony from the victim’s sister-in-law, in which she recounted being uncomfortable around the defendant and getting “weird vibes” from him, were prejudicial as well.
A message was left Friday with the Cumberland County prosecutor’s office, which tried the case.