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Haleakala telescope protester’s trial on hold over Hawaiian writing

WAILUKU >> The trial for a Haleakala telescope protester has been put on hold after the man submitted a motion written in Hawaiian asking a judge to dismiss his case because the man said his right to a speedy trial was violated.

Samuel Kaleikoa Kaeo of Kula submitted the motion to Judge Kelsey Kawano before the start of his trial in Wailuku District Court. Kawano said the motion was written primarily in Hawaiian and would need translation to English before he could rule on it, The Maui News reported Thursday.

“Mr. Kaeo, I’m greatly troubled because we were supposed to proceed with trial today,” Kawano said. “I’m informed that a prior oral motion to dismiss for violation to your right of a speedy trial was not entertained, and you were instructed to file a written motion. It puts me in the position to place this before the trial. Your motion needs to be resolved before we start the trial.”

Kaeo, who is representing himself, last appeared in court in March and asked for the case to be dismissed because more than six months had passed since his arrest but was told he must file a motion to the court. He was granted an interpreter for his trial at the March hearing.

Kaeo was among six protesters arrested in the early-morning hours Aug. 2 as dozens of protesters gathered at Kula Highway and Old Haleakala Highway to confront a large vehicle convoy carrying equipment for construction of the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope at the Haleakala summit.

He has pleaded not guilty to disorderly conduct, obstructing a highway and refusing to comply with a police officer’s order.

Deputy Prosecutor Terence Herndon told the court that he would respond to the motion in writing after it has been translated. He added that there are excludable periods in the case that comply with the defendant’s right to a speedy trial.

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