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Charges to be refiled in false-records case

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

LAST UPDATED: 7:56 p.m. HST, Jun 8, 2011

City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro said his office will refile charges against four Honolulu police officers in the DUI enforcement unit accused of falsifying records so two sergeants could gain overtime.

"We definitely plan to prosecute," Kaneshiro said Tuesday in a statement.

A ruling by Circuit Judge Edward Kubo Jr. on Monday to dismiss an existing case "without prejudice" cleared the way for the prosecutor's decision.

Last week, Kubo dismissed the charges against Sgts. Aaron Bernal and Duke Zoller, and officers Christopher Bugarin and Patrick Bugarin because prosecutors took too long to bring the case to trial. State law requires a speedy and public trial for those accused of a criminal charge. Kubo held off, however, on deciding to allow the prosecutor's office to refile, until this week.

Kaneshiro's office did not say when the case would be refiled.

Guy Matsunaga, Christopher Bugarin's attorney, said his client was disappointed by Kubo's decision to allow the case to be refiled. "Now it's still hanging over my client's head."

The decision to refile the case would not affect three other officers, two of whom were found not guilty and the other of whom pleaded guilty.

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