A man convicted of molesting his girlfriend's 8-year-old daughter was granted a new trial yesterday after the state Appeals Court ruled that the jury should not have been allowed to hear about the large amount of pornography found in his home.
Hubert Jaundoo of Belchertown was convicted in February 2003 on multiple charges of rape and indecent assault and battery on a child under 14. He is currently serving a prison sentence of 18 to 20 years.
During his trial, the girl testified that Jaundoo showed her a pornographic videotape, some pornographic magazines, and a cup engraved with pornography.
A state trooper also told the jury that police had seized 72 pornographic images, three magazines, and two books from his home.
The judge told the jury that the testimony regarding the pornography was intended to help them assess the girl's credibility and not to show that the defendant was a ''bad person" or that he wrongfully possessed pornography.
The Appeals Court said in its ruling that the judge's instruction was not enough to overcome its prejudicial effect. ''We find that having the jury review such a large quantity of pornographic material, much of which was unrelated to the alleged crime, created prejudicial error," the court said.
Jaundoo's attorney, David Hoose, said the amount of pornography shown to the jury made it impossible for him to receive a fair trial. ''''It simply confused the issues and had nothing to do with what the jury should have been focusing on," Hoose said yesterday.
A call to the Hampshire district attorney's office was not immediately returned.