Monday, November 28, 2016

Three persons arrested in serious assault on Wailuka security officer

Tevita  FinauMeleana Finau

WAILUKU HI Nov 28 2016 — Bail remains at $300,000 each for three Lahaina residents charged with assaulting a security guard at a Kaanapali bar last month, with a judge Friday denying both the prosecution’s request to increase bail and defense requests to lower it.
Tevita Finau, 29, his wife, Meleana Tuakoi Finau, 28, and her sister, Petiola Tuakoi, 20, are each charged with first-degree assault.
The security guard was assaulted after a fight involving bar patrons broke out at about 1:30 a.m. Oct. 22 on the property of Paradise Grill, said Deputy Prosecutor Ronson Ibarra. After the security guard fell down a set of stairs, he was kicked several times in the head as he was lying on the ground, Ibarra said.
Tevita Finau was seen kicking the security guard’s head “like it was a soccer ball, at least twice,” he said.
The security guard lost consciousness for about 15 seconds before he was transported by ambulance to Maui Memorial Medical Center, Ibarra said. The guard was treated for injuries including a 5-inch contusion on the left side of his face and a subdural hematoma, with a doctor saying the injuries were “serious and possibly life threatening,” he said.
Ibarra asked the court to order that Tevita Finau be held without bail, noting he has a pending case for second-degree assault.
Court records show he was released from jail after posting a $20,000 bail bond, following the arrest in June.
Ibarra said Finau hadn’t complied with requirements of his release, testing positive for marijuana use Aug. 30 and failing to contact his supervising officer in August, September and October.
Finau’s attorney Hayden Aluli objected to the $300,000 bail, which was set after Finau and his co-defendants were indicted Nov. 18 by a Maui County grand jury.
Aluli said Finau “has strong ties to the community,” including about 20 family and friends in the courtroom gallery Friday. “He is gainfully employed,” Aluli said.
In keeping Finau’s bail at $300,000, 2nd Circuit Judge Richard Bissen said he didn’t consider Finau a flight risk.
“The issue is whether or not he’s a danger to our community,” Bissen said. “You can work and live here and have family and still be dangerous.”
Bissen noted that Finau’s criminal history included two contempt-of-court violations that occurred about two months ago and a conviction last year for failure to appear. Finau also has convictions for drug and theft offenses and drunken driving, Bissen said.
If he posts bail to be released, Finau was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs.
Along with his co-defendants, he was ordered to have no contact with the security guard, two other men who were assaulted that night and a witness.
Finau also was ordered to have no contact with the security guard’s extended family, including his parents, fiancee, child and in-laws. Ibarra sought the order “based on the fear of retaliation.”
Ibarra had asked that bail be increased to $500,000 each for Tuakoi and Tuakoi Finau.
Attorney Walter Vierra, representing Tuakoi, asked that her bail be reduced to $50,000. He said she is employed and has no prior criminal history.
“Everything other than the severity of the crime would point to lowering the bail,” Vierra said. “This is a very young woman that has significant ties to the community.”
Tuakoi is also charged with two counts of third-degree assault of two other men that night.
Judge Bissen said a bail study noted that Tuakoi Finau also works and has only a traffic matter on her record.
He said attorneys could file motions asking to have the defendants’ bail increased or lowered.

Jan. 12 pretrial conferences are set for the three defendants.
Maui News

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