Hawaii County’s top prosecutor said Friday he will dismiss charges against 10 of the 31 protesters who were caught blocking the entrance to the giant telescope on a mountain held sacred by Native Hawaiians.
The Thirty Meter Telescope planned to be constructed near to the summit of Mauna Kelua on Hawaii’s Big Island would be one of the world’s largest telescopes if ever built.
Some people are against the $1.4 billion project and are attempting to protect the sacred mountain from being desecrated, while others want to stop the construction. They have guaranteed to continue with their fight.
Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth told The Associated Press he will drop the charges against those accused for trespassing, however his office may decide to re-arrest them later. The others caught a month ago were charged with obstructing government operations.
Roth declined to say why he’s moving to reject some since according to him their cases need to be studied some more.
“We don’t charge cases unless we can prove them beyond a reasonable doubt,” he said.
He further said that his office will continue assessing police reports and the video shots taken at the site.
Kealoha Pisciotta, one of the Big Island pioneers behind the push to stop the telescope, said she’s glad to hear that some of the cases will be dismissed.
“Honestly, I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t intend on getting arrested that day,” she said. “It really didn’t make sense to be arrested on our own aina
It’s not clear if Freitas is among those whose trespassing charge will be dropped. Her attorney, Dexter Kaiama, who also represents eight others, declined to comment on specifics until the judge signed the dismissal discharges.
Kaiama said he doesn’t believe that a judge won’t sign the discharge papers. The agreed court date for the proceedings is scheduled for June 18.
Construction has been stopped since last month due to difficulties in stopping the protesters from entering the site.
Gov. David Ige previously said it’s up to the nonprofit company behind the telescope to determine when work will start again. “And we will support and enforce their right to do so,” he has said.