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The lawyer of former South Hadley High student Austin Renaud, charged with the statutory rape of Irish teen Phoebe Prince, says the prosecution has failed to present evidence to support the allegations. Renaud was charged in connection to the high-profile bullying case, bullying which led to the suicide of 15-year-old, Irish student Prince.
On Tuesday the Northampton Superior Court Judge Mary Lou Rup ordered both sides to give details of grand jury evidence before she made her ruling.
Renaud's lawyer, Terry Dunphy, says the prosecution did not give a grand jury enough information about when or how the statutory rape took place. The prosecutor Thomas Townsend denies this.
The 19-year-old is charged with having sex with County Clare student Prince when she was under 16. It is believed the incident took place between July 2009 and January 14, 2010, the day Prince committed suicide.
Five other teenagers who were also students at South Hadley High have been charged in the Prince case. The charges against them range from statutory rape, to violation of civil rights, criminal harassment, disturbance of a school assembly and stalking, assault with a deadly weapon and delinquency.
Prince was tormented by relentless bullying until she could take no more and hung herself at her parents’ home on January 14 of last year.
Dunphy said the grand jury were not provided with credible evidence that Renaud had sex with Prince. He also said that they omitted statements made by Renaud to the contrary. These included a video of a police interview. Dunphy said they had a duty to play the tape for the jury.
He also said the bill of particulars, submitted by the Northwestern District Attorney's Office, offered no specific dates or places involving the acts or even if it had occurred in Hampshire County. He also cited a witness statement. They said Renaud had not had sex with Prince.
The prosecution lawyer, Townsend, said, "Self-serving denial is not necessary for grand jury consumption."
Townsend has been given one week to file a more detailed response to Dunphy's appeal. Dunphy will then have one week to reply.