Former St. Paul's School student Owen Labrie was in court Wednesday asking for a new trial more than three years after he was convicted of sexual assaulting an under-aged student.
The jury found Labrie guilty on a charge of using a computer to lure the victim. During the trial, email and Facebook messages between Labrie and then fellow student Chessy Prout were used as evidence.
Labrie's attorney, Christopher Johnson, argued before New Hampshire Supreme Court Justices that Labrie received ineffective counsel when his previous lawyers failed to defend him from that charge and present arguments to the jury.
"Rather than totally ignoring the charge, they should have said, 'I want you to think about consent. I want you to think about what the intent was when those messages were sent because that's crucial to this computer-use felony," Johnson said.
But Assistant Attorney General Sean Locke said Labrie's lawyers performed reasonably, citing the more serious charges he was acquitted of.
"At the time of the trial, the defendant was facing three aggravated felonious sexual assault charges,” Locke said. “Had he been convicted of those, he would have spent 30-60 years in prison along with a lifetime registration requirement.”
If Labrie's lawyer's are successful, the case would go back to Superior Court for another trial.
Labrie was also found guilty of three counts of misdemeanor sexual assault stemming from the encounter he had with Chessy Prout.
Those convictions were appealed but the state's highest court upheld the ruling earlier this month.