Thursday, December 17, 1998

Mainland expert
will testify on
alleged conflict

Lawyers doubt the
attorney general's authority to
prosecute Henry Peters

By Rick Daysog


A state judge will allow the testimony of a legal expert in the case to dismiss indictments against Bishop Estate trustee Henry Peters and local developer Jeffrey Stone.

Circuit Judge Michael Town ruled yesterday that Jeffrey Hazard, a University of Pennsylvania law professor and an authority on ethics, can testify in a Jan. 26 hearing on the dismissal motion.

John Edmunds, Stone's attorney, named Hazard as an expert witness in the trial to dismiss grand jury indictments against Stone, Peters and local businessman Leighton Mau.

On Nov. 25, an Oahu grand jury indicted Peters for one count of theft in connection with a Hawaii Kai land deal involving Stone, who is the brother-in-law of Bishop Estate trustee Richard Wong.

The grand jury also indicted Stone on bribery, perjury and conspiracy charges and Mau on conspiracy.

Edmunds and Brook Hart, Mau's attorney, have argued that Attorney General Margery Bronster, who initiated the grand jury investigation, does not have the authority to prosecute the case.

They also argued that Bronster's duties as prosecutor in the criminal matter are in conflict with her role in civil matters as parens patriae, or legal guardian, of the Bishop Estate.

Lawrence Goya, senior deputy attorney general, said the attorney general's office has jurisdiction over criminal proceedings, noting there are many examples to support that position without having to refer to a legal expert. He also said Hazard lacks the background to serve as an expert in Hawaii law.

Under Town's ruling, the attorney general's office can also call its own legal expert to testify.

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