New Hampshire

Hearing for New Trial in Prep School Sex Assault Underway

The New Hampshire prep school graduate convicted of sexually assaulting an underage student said nothing as he left Merrimack Superior Court in Concord, New Hampshire Tuesday afternoon.

It was day one of a four-day hearing for Owen Labrie’s motion for a new trial.

Labrie was back in the same courtroom where two years ago he was convicted of using a computer to lure an underage classmate in a game of sexual conquest on the campus of St. Paul’s School in Concord.

He’s now asking for a new trial, claiming ineffective counsel. In an effort to prove that, Labrie’s new attorney, Robin Malone, put Jaye Rancourt on the stand. Rancourt was initially hired back in 2015 as local counsel by Labrie’s lead attorney J.W. Carney, but then excused by Carney just before trial.

Rancourt says she has thoroughly reviewed the trial transcripts because she’s the one leading Labrie’s appeal, which is on hold pending the outcome of this separate motion.

On Tuesday, Rancourt described several examples of evidence that was never presented at trial. Evidence she says would have critically challenged the victim’s credibility.

“It would have been valuable to Owen, because ultimately Owen’s case I think when you boil it down to its essentials was a ‘he said, she said,’ nobody else was there,” Rancourt said on the stand.

Rancourt also claims that she witnessed several occasions on which Labrie’s team was unprepared for trial. Like the day she says the defense’s DNA expert was set to take the stand.

“It became apparent to me they had not met on a previous occasion,” Rancourt said.

She became emotional when she reflected on that moment.

“That was possibly the most terrifying moment of my entire legal career. I was sitting in that room thinking, ‘I am going to have to go to the courtroom and interrupt that trial and step in and say I can’t let it go on,’” Rancourt said.

Rancourt says she never interrupted the trial that day because that DNA expert never actually took the stand.

Cross examination started just before 4 p.m. Tuesday and will continue on Wednesday.

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