Lā 289: TMT protest leader found not guilty
By Associated Press Tribune Herald January 8, 2016
A man arrested while blocking telescope construction crews on a Hawaii mountain has been found not guilty after a trial where he testified in Hawaiian.
Kahoʻokahi Kanuha’s case had been postponed because he insisted on defending himself in the language he’s most comfortable speaking. The trial went forward Friday with a Hawaiian interpreter. Judge Barbara Takase found him not guilty of obstructing.
Even though Hawaiian is one of the state’s official languages, court cases are primarily conducted in English, with interpreters provided for those who speak other languages.
Kanuha is among protesters who were arrested during attempts to resume construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea. One of the reasons protesters oppose the $1.4 billion project is that many Native Hawaiians consider the mountain sacred.