An east-central Alberta father accused of sexually abusing his young daughter with a trial in Stettler Provincial Court last spring is now relieved that Alberta’s highest court has dropped all convictions.
“It was very unfair for an innocent man to get convicted without any evidence and I didn’t see any evidence,” he said in a brief interview with the Stettler Independent.
Names of the accused and his daughter cannot be reported because of a publication ban.
Alberta Court of Appeal Justice Peter Martin dropped the convictions against the man accused of sexually assaulting his six year-old daughter, when the justice presented his decision on Feb. 17, stating the offences may have never occurred and may have been a dream.
The accused also credited his lawyer for assisting in the process.
“It’s a good thing there are people like Marvin Bloos who can bring out the truth,’ he said.
“I’ve had this sitting on my shoulder for two years,” he added, noting that he is very grateful for strong support from family, friends and community.
Sentenced to three years in jail, the father was convicted of sexual assault, sexual touching and counseling sexual touching with his daughter between 2005 and 2008.
“At trial, the child acknowledged that the allegation of sexual assault may have been a dream, that is to say, it may not have happened,” said Justice Martin as reported in the Calgary Herald.
Justice Martin also noted that fellow justices Clifton O’Brien and Peter Costigan noted at trial that the prosecutor asked the judge to adjourn so the prosecutor could consider where to continue with the prosecution.
“I believe he was vindicated,” said Marvin Bloos, the lawyer for the accused, based in Edmonton.
“There never was, in my mind, a case against him and the Court of Appeal agreed with that.”
“I am very concerned the way the evidence of young children is being treated and the fairness and objectiveness of the process.”
He noted that police interviews with young children soon after an incident can often be biased and children have a difficult time accurately recalling details over one year later.
“Thank goodness for the appeal process and the Alberta Court of Appeal that looked at the errors made on the record,” said Bloos.
The girls’ parents had gone through a tough divorce and her mother had spoken repeatedly about sexual touching when she went to visit her father, wrote the court.