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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, March 1, 2002

Request for lawyer leads to mistrial

By David Waite
Advertiser Staff Writer

A mistrial was declared yesterday in the case of a Halawa prison inmate who demanded to represent himself on kidnapping and terroristic threatening charges but balked when the trial started Wednesday.

Circuit Judge Karen Ahn declared a mistrial after Alomalietoa Sua told her he now wants to be represented by an attorney.

Sua told Ahn on Wednesday that he felt his rights to due process were being denied and that he did not have adequate time to prepare for his trial.

Ahn disagreed, saying the criminal charges against Sua deal with something that allegedly happened more 1 years ago. She asked Sua repeatedly if he wanted to remain in the courtroom to hear the evidence against him, but he declined, and asked to be returned to the courthouse cellblock.

Ahn granted his request and Sua's trial began with no one seated at the defense table to represent him.

City Deputy Prosecutor Kevin Takata, who made an opening statement in the case Wednesday, said yesterday that he did not object to Ahn declaring a mistrial. Had the trial proceeded with neither Sua nor an attorney present in the courtroom to represent him, there would be a much greater likelihood that a conviction would be dismissed on appeal, Takata said.

He estimated that it would be at least six months before a lawyer appointed to represent Sua will be ready to go to trial.