INDEX - JUSTICE ID# 00715-09



POSTED: 4 OCTOBER 2007 - 9:30am HST

Kauai official ponders charges for protesters

image above: Kauai Police guarding the Hawaii Superferry gate entrance on 8/19/07

by Robert Shikina on 4 October 2007 in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin

Kauai's prosecuting attorney will investigate whether to charge at least six people arrested in connection with the Hawaii Superferry protests.

On Tuesday the defendants were scheduled for arraignment in Circuit Court, but prosecutors failed to file complaints against them.

"No formal charges were filed," said Kauai Prosecutor Craig De Costa. "Their arraignment date was canceled, pending a review of police reports once we get them."

Charges against the defendants stem from the August 26 and 27 protests at Nawiliwili Harbor when they were arrested on suspicion of state misdemeanor
crimes such as criminal trespassing.

Fourteen people were arrested over those two days, including four juveniles, police said.

While the defendants could face another arraignment date, at least one defendant's case was dropped. Police said Timothy Rysdale was arrested on suspicion of criminal trespassing on Coast Guard property on August 29, two days after the protests.

After talking with the Coast Guard, prosecutors found "the defendant's intent on trespassing on Coast Guard property was not malicious," De Costa said.

Police still had not turned over reports for four cases yesterday, while reports for two cases were delivered too late for Tuesday's arraignment.

As in Rysdale's case, the incoming reports could have insufficient evidence to bring charges because the police were distracted, focusing on the public's safety, De Costa said.

"We might not be able to charge the four because there may be discrepancies between the Police Department and other agencies witnessing (the incident)," he said.

Prosecutors have since met with law enforcement agencies to improve interagency coordination in future incidents, he said.

Kauai police Capt. Ale Quibilan, incident commander at the protests, said he did not know why the police reports were delayed, but plans to see that they are completed in the next couple of days.

"The arrests were done in this big confusion of trying to secure the harbor," he said, adding that the result might be some arrests were unwarranted under state law.

see also:
Island Breath: Council HSF Resolution 10/4/07
Island Breath: Recent Superferry News 9/29/07
Island Breath: Superferry Lawsuit Links 9/17/07