Defense spars with state for not sharing witness information in Portsmouth kidnapping, sex assault case
BRENTWOOD – A home care worker charged with kidnapping and sexually assaulting a male client complained to a judge that prosecutors are not providing contact information for witnesses, hindering efforts by the defense to fully investigate the case.
A lawyer for John Riley, 41, formerly of Milton, is claiming that reports and other information was redacted by the state and is "clearly a violation of the defendant's fair trial and due process."
Prosecutors have balked at the claim, and handing over the information, claiming it is protected under the state's Right-to-Know law.
"Witnesses and victims do not give up the right to privacy simply because they have become involuntary players in the criminal justice system," Assistant County Attorney Terri Harrington said in a court motion. "The County Attorney provides the defendant with the full names of all adult, competent victims and witnesses along with the town in which they reside."
Harrington argued that providing the names of witnesses and towns they reside in is enough information to protect a defendant’s right to a fair trial.
Riley, of Lebanon, Maine was indicted in May on charges of aggravated felonious sexual assault, kidnapping and indecent exposure. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and remains free on $10,000 bail.
Defense lawyer Lincoln Solidati complained in court papers that "substantial portions" of the materials given to him by prosecutors "has been redacted to exclude information needed to contact witnesses including their address and phone numbers."
"The state has not provided any explanation for the redaction of this information and apparently this is a routine practice of the Rockingham County Attorney’s Office," said Solidati, the former Strafford County Attorney.
A decision about the information will likely be left to Judge Kenneth McHugh, who is scheduled to meet with Solidati and Harrington on Sept. 3.
Riley is accused of sexually assaulting the 35-year-old man in a car while the two were at a Portsmouth parking lot on Nov. 2.
At the time, Riley was working for Living Innovations, an agency that provides care for the elderly, and people with developmental disabilities.
Police say that Riley had the victim in his car following a Halloween-themed dance hosted at Living Innovations offices at 1950 Lafayette Road in Portsmouth.
About a month prior to his arrest, Riley was recognized as the Direct Support Professional and Home Provider of the Year.
Prosecutors have sought an enhanced felony on the sexual assault charges, making them each punishable by 10 to 20 years in state prison if Riley is convicted. The kidnapping carries a potential 3½- to 7-year prison term.
No trial date has been set in the case.