Man pleads not guilty in attack on officer
Australian pro surfer Koby Abberton pleaded not guilty yesterday to a charge that he hit an off-duty Honolulu harbor police officer during a brawl at a nightclub.
Abberton faces a maximum sentence of a year's imprisonment on the misdemeanor assault charge stemming from the March 8 fight outside Restaurant Epic in Chinatown.
Abberton is a member of the Bra Boys gang, a group of friends who released their autobiographical "Bra Boys" documentary in the United States this year. The film tells of murder and family loyalties in the beachside Sydney suburb of Maroubra.
He is also known as the face of Oakley surfwear through a sponsorship.
Abberton, who turned 30 on Sunday, did not speak during his hearing before District Judge Ray Graulty. He was ordered to return to Hawaii for a trial by jury Aug. 13.
Both he and his attorney, Leslie Maharaj, declined to comment on their defense, but Abberton was quoted by Australia media in April as saying "it wasn't even me" who hit the officer. Abberton acknowledged he was in the area, but he claims police arrested the wrong guy.
Prosecutors plan to pursue their case against Abberton, said Deputy Prosecutor Katrina Ordonio.
"We do believe we have sufficient evidence for proof beyond a reasonable doubt," Ordonio said after the hearing. "We are ready for trial. The victim will be called to testify."
The third-degree assault charge means the victim, 27-year-old Richard Puu, suffered bodily injury during the fight, according to the Prosecutor's Office. Ordonio said she could not reveal details of the evidence against Abberton until trial.
In addition to the jail time, Abberton could also face a $2,000 fine.
Abberton is known for his bad-boy image and has had run-ins with the law in the past.
He was given a suspended sentence in 2006 after he was convicted of lying to police about his knowledge of the August 2003 Sydney killing of underworld figure Anthony Hines. His brother, Jai, was acquitted of murder in the killing.