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Tuesday, August 3, 1999



IN COURT

Fishermen fail to show
up for trial

Also: Suit accuses harassment

By Debra Barayuga
Star-Bulletin

Tapa

Trial for two fishermen charged with gill-net fishing violations on the Leeward Coast has been delayed again.

Bench warrants were issued yesterday for Daniel Tran and Mung Van Pham after they failed to appear in Waianae District Court for trial, said Deputy Prosecutor Erika Ireland.

Tran and Pham each have been charged with petty misdemeanors including taking undersized moi, lobster out of season and coral off Maili Point on Aug. 14, 1998.

Their trial has been continued at least four times before yesterday. In the last continuance, trial was delayed because the defense sought to throw out the case because it was unconstitutional for enforcement officers to board their boat.

Ireland said the state courts have affirmed and federal case law allows enforcement officers to board vessels for safety and administrative purposes.

If convicted, Tran and Pham each face a maximum $500 fine and 30 days in jail for each offense. They also can be charged with $100 per specimen.

Court-appointed attorney Chris China said he did not know why Tran did not appear. Deputy public defender Art Indiola, who represents Pham, could not be reached for comment.

Increased involvement by community members who witness fishing violations and report them to the proper authorities is an important aspect of enforcement efforts by the Department of Land and Natural Resources, said Gary Moniz, acting administrator of the Conservation and Resources Enforcement Division.

Last month, Tho Van Nguyen and Tieu Cathy Nguyen pleaded no contest in Waianae District Court for illegally breaking or taking of coral. Both were ordered to pay a $500 fine. Reports of violations are expected to increase as populations in the islands increase and resources dwindle, Moniz said.


Suit accuses company
of harassment

Star-Bulletin staff

Tapa

Four former employees of Centurion Security Systems have filed sexual harassment lawsuits against the company and its president in the last week.

Courtney Taylor, yesterday filed the latest suit against President Anthony Martinez Jr. Last week, two separate lawsuits were filed by Lehua-Nani Brighter, formerly a security officer and Margo Ramsey-Petron, a dispatcher; and Joy Poniatowski, executive secretary.

The suits accuse Centurion of creating a hostile and offensive work environment that forced them to quit.

The women allege they were subjected to unwelcome and offensive physical touching, and verbal comments and actions of a sexual nature by Ramirez or account manager John G. Stubbs, their supervisors. Taylor, who was hired by Martinez in August 1998 to care for his home office and residence, alleged Martinez told her she had to have sex with him to keep her job.

The women allege they were retaliated against or demeaned when they objected to the harassment and subsequently were forced to quit. Ramirez did not return calls for comment. Stubbs, no longer with the company, could not be reached for comment.



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