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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 12:09 p.m., Thursday, May 11, 2006

Mistrial declared in case against former police officer

Advertiser Staff

A mistrial was declared and drug charges dismissed this morning against a former Honolulu police officer and his codefendant after jurors reported that when court was not in session, they heard a police officer say he was going to serve a restraining order on the codefendant.

Circuit Judge Steven Alm granted the mistrial and dismissal for Rogelio "Roger" Mata, 63, and Estela J. McGovern, 43. Their two-day trial which started Wednesday was halted once it was reported that the jurors heard the officer's remarks.

Jim Fulton, spokesman for the city prosecutor's office, said it is likely they will refile the charges.

Mata was a police officer from 1971 until he was convicted in 1992 for conspiring to burglarize four Hawai'i Kai homes. He was also found guilty and sentenced to probation for possession of crystal methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and a rifle recovered in a drug raid of his Kalihi in 2004.

The mistrial was for two felony drug and drug paraphernalia charges filed against Mata last year after police recovered drugs and paraphernalia at a Kalihi apartment.

He was held on $100,000 bail, but released after the dismissal of the charges. McGovern had been free on bail.