Defendant says palace worker hit him


POSTED: Friday, August 14, 2009

A Honolulu police sergeant, a newspaper reporter and one of two men accused of assaulting an Iolani Palace employee during a palace break-in last summer said they did not see anyone strike the employee with one of the palace's gates.

Robert Roggasch, 70, and Donald Alfred Love Boltz, 74, are on trial in state court for second-degree assault for allegedly striking Friends of Iolani Palace facilities manager Betty Jean Noelani Ah Yuen several times with an iron gate Aug. 15, 2008.

Roggasch said he was at the gate next to the Hawaii State Library to observe people entering and exiting the palace grounds. He said he encountered Ah Yuen three times at the gate.

Roggasch, a 22-year Maui resident, referred to Ah Yuen as “;No. 1”; because he said he can't pronounce Ah Yuen.

He said the first time he encountered Ah Yuen was when she was taking down fliers members of the group Kingdom of Hawaii, Nation, had posted on palace grounds. He said she later returned during a dispute about whether the gate should be open or closed.

The third time Roggasch said he saw Ah Yuen at the gate was when she struck him running after a Honolulu police officer who was leaving the area in his vehicle.

“;She was like a tornado,”; he said. “;She was moving quickly and fast. And she ran into other people, and I thought she ran into the gate.”;

Roggasch said he asked Ah Yuen whether she

needed medical attention, but she refused.

Honolulu Advertiser reporter Rick Daysog said he was at the gate and saw a man who had introduced himself earlier as Norman shove Ah Yuen against a concrete pillar but did not see anyone strike her with the gate.

Police Sgt. Yiu Kay Chan said his district commander instructed him to check on the palace and report back to him.

Chan said when he arrived at the gate, he saw Ah Yuen involved in some shoving and pushing with two men in red T-shirts and an elderly man wearing a blue baseball cap. He said he ordered them to stop, and he saw Ah Yuen break away and step toward the gate.

He said he took down some names and called police Maj. Clayton Saito to report his findings. He then left to meet officials of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, which is the lead agency in matters involving the palace, as Saito had instructed. But before leaving, he said he told the people where he was going and that he would return to initiate an assault case.

Chan said Ah Yuen told him she was assaulted, but did not see anyone strike her with the gate or any other object.

He said he did not intervene because he did not see anyone being assaulted, and nobody was asking for assistance or was seriously injured and in need of immediate medical attention. He said Ah Yuen did not appear to fear for her safety.