By Ken Kobayashi
Advertiser Courts Writer
Despite his lawyer's strong protests, Hawaiian sovereignty activist Dennis "Bumpy" Kanahele went to trail on traffic charges yesterday during a break in his federal trial.
In the end, Honolulu District judge James Dannenberg acquitted Kanahele of two charges, convicted him of three and fashioned a sentence that could result in Kanahele paying only $10 in fines.
Nonetheless, his lawyer Hayden Aluli called the trail a "railroad" job and a "travesty of justice" and vowed to appeal the convictions as a matter of principle.
Aluli asked for a postponement because he is representing Kanahele in his federal trail of felony charges accusing him of harboring a fugitive, Nathan Brown, a Hawaiian tax protester, in early 1994. Aluli said he didn't have time to prepare for the traffic case.
But Dannenberg said Kanahele's traffic case - now three years old - had been postponed earlier and that Aluli know that the case was set for yesterday.
Aluli also asked for postponement of the defense portion until after the federal trail so that the defense could line up witnesses.
Dannenberg denied the request, indicating that the witnesses - experts on international law and Hawaiian sovereignty issues - would not provide relevant testimony to the traffic case.
"This is not a political arena," the judge said.
Kanahele was driving a truck with "Nation of Hawaii" license plates when he was stopped and arrested on Kalanianaole Highway near Aina Haina in 1992.
Kanahele is head of the Nation of Hawaii sovereignty group. He and his followers believe the U.S. and state governments are illegal and have no jurisdiction to hear criminal cases against them.
Colin Lau, the city prosecutor, objected to any postponement."The judge really bent over backwards to accommodate the defendant, and when they tried to push him a little further, he stopped and made them go to trial," Lau said.
Kanahele's federal trial started lasts week and will resume today.
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