Two Found Guilty of Blocking TMT Construction
Judge Barbara Takase ruled on Thursday in the first trials for those who were arrested as they protested against the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope.
The trials took place at the District Court of the Third Circuit, Hamakua Division in Kamuela.
According to the Office of County of Hawai’i Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth, Ronald Fujiyoshi and Linda Lindsey-Kaapuni were both found guilty of obstructing the Mauna Kea Access Road.
The pair were among the 31 arrested on April 2, a combined total of Hawai’i Police Department and Department of Land and Natural Resources arrests.
County of Hawai’i Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Britt Bailey represented the State of Hawai’i, requesting that both Fujiyoshi and Lindsey-Kaapuni be sentenced to six months probation, that they stay off of the Mauna Kea Access Road during the probation period, and have a $500 fine converted to 72 hours of community service work.
Both parties reportedly requested alternative sentences.
Fujiyoshi requested a jail sentence instead of performing community service work. Judge Takase sentenced him to six months probation, with the condition that he remain off the Mauna Kea Access Road for the period of his probation, and five days in jail, with four of the days suspended.
Lindsey-Kaapuni requested community service rather than probation. Judge Takase sentence her to 100 hours of community service work.
Ten of the initial 31 individuals who were arrested on Mauna Kea on April 2 had their charges dropped in May. The ten individuals were initially charged with trespassing.
Thirteen additional arrests on June 24 make a combined total of 44 individuals who have been arrested on Mauna Kea for blocking TMT construction crews from reaching their work site.
Since June, no on-site TMT construction has been attempted, however, TMT officials recently announced mirror work being completed remotely.