The Kansas Supreme Court ruled Friday that a man accused of sexually abusing his three-year-old relative will not face a second trial and will instead be freed. Richard Bowman got a mistrial ruling in March 2018 after the then-four-year-old witness would not take an oath to be sworn in as a witness, the Washington Times reported.
Without her testimony, the state could not make its case. But the Supreme Court ruled that the mistrial ruling was incorrect. Instead, the charges should have been dropped because other evidence had already been presented contingent on the victim’s testimony.
If charges had been dropped as four justices said they should have been, Bowman would not face charges again because of double jeopardy. Three dissenting justices argued that the circumstances of the trial did permit a mistrial and that the second trial should proceed.
Bowman will now be released from custody where he has been awaiting a new trial. He will not face further charges.
The ruling has resulted in a backlash against the Supreme Court for allowing the alleged child rapist to go free without facing charges again. Advocates, however, point out that citizens are innocent until proven guilty and laws must be followed.
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