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Man serving 50 to 100 years in prison will be allowed to argue for new trial

Union Leader Correspondent

December 12. 2016 10:00PM

BRENTWOOD — A Chester man serving 50 to 100 years in prison for sexually assaulting a young girl will be allowed to argue why he should receive a new trial.

Gary Britton, 63, has been seeking to upend his decades-long sentence in federal court. But a decision by Judge N. William Delker has essentially shifted legal proceedings back to Rockingham County Superior Court.

Britton is arguing that his court-appointed lawyer failed to present evidence during his 2013 trial that could have helped his defense. Britton received a new court-appointed lawyer, Wade Harwood, to take up his case.

Prosecutors have already objected to Britton’s bid to receive a hearing on the matter. He filed a petition himself before being appointed an attorney.

Harwood is expected to file his legal argument for Britton later this week. Prosecutors will have to respond just prior to an April 14 hearing.

A jury convicted Britton in May 2013 of aggravated felonious sexual assault for his ongoing abuse of a young girl. Prosecutors say Britton began sexually assaulting a girl in 1991 when she was about 9 years old.

Britton later pleaded guilty to charges of possession of child pornography and being a felon in possession of a handgun.

He has a prior conviction of sexually abusing a child from 1983. Chester police began investigating Britton on Sept. 21, 2011 when he failed to register as a sex offender.

Britton resolved some of the charges filed against him as part of a plea agreement. He pleaded guilty to 10 counts of possession of child pornography roughly a week after a jury convicted him in the sexual assault case.

Britton said in a new court motion that he never would have struck a plea agreement to resolve the child pornography case had he known what a lengthy sentence he would receive. As part of that plea agreement, the sentence was left up to the judge.

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