Calgary

Incest retrial begins after original judge condemned for applying 'discredited' abuse myths

An Alberta man is being retried on allegations that he sexually abused his daughter and two stepdaughters — after an appeal court found the judge who originally found him not guilty relied on "discredited myths and stereotypes" about sexual abuse.

Allan Dean Griffin found not guilty in original 2013 trial that questioned delay in girls' reporting

Allan Dean Griffin is being retried after an Alberta Appeal Court found the original judge shouldn't have questioned why it took so long for the alleged victims to come forward. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

An Alberta man is being retried on allegations that he sexually abused his daughter and two stepdaughters — after an appeal court found the judge who originally found him not guilty relied on "discredited myths and stereotypes" about sexual abuse.

Allan Dean Griffin of Cochrane, just northwest of Calgary, is charged with six counts of sexual assault relating to minors for allegedly abusing his daughter and two stepdaughters, when they were between five and nine years old.

A publication ban on the names of the accused and the accusers was lifted several years ago, at the request of the daughter and stepdaughters.

Griffin was found not guilty in 2013.

But last year the Court of Appeal found the judge involved, Justice K. Yamauchi, was wrong to question why it took so long for the victims to come forward and relied on "discredited myths and stereotypes" about the disclosure of sexual abuse.

Yamauchi is one of four judges in Alberta scrutinized in recent years for their controversial rulings and comments around sex assault cases, prompting calls from legal experts for greater diversity on the bench and better education for judges.

In the original trial, Yamauchi also questioned why the children couldn't remember "innocuous things," such as when they lived at certain places or where they were going to school at the time of the abuse.

The Alberta Court of Appeal ordered the new trial, saying Yamauchi "erred in law" and "misapplied" two key legal principles.

The so-called doctrine of "recent complaint" has long been struck from Canadian law, the Appeal Court noted when it overturned Yamauchi's ruling.

Assaulted 3 times, stepdaughter testifies 

​In a Calgary court on Tuesday, one of Griffin's stepdaughters — Kylie French, now 20 — testified that she was assaulted three times when Griffin was dating her mother.

She says the abuse happened when Griffin was looking after her while her mother was at work.

French testified she'd been assaulted three times when she was around eight and that he'd performed oral sex once at the home of Griffin's sister and twice in her mother's bed at their home outside of Cochrane.

She says she didn't tell her mother because she was embarrassed.

"I didn't want to make her feel like it was her fault or anything," French said.

The court heard that she eventually asked to go and live with her biological father but never said why.

She kept the alleged assaults a secret for four years, before confiding in her cousin, friend and sister.

She then told her biological father a year later in 2010 and finally reported what she said had happened to the RCMP.

Griffin's biological daughter testified on Monday.

The trial continues during the week.

With files from Colleen Underwood

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