Tuesday, February 23, 1999

Hawaii State Seal

Dana Ireland’s father:
End time limit on
rape charges

Legislature Directory

By Craig Gima


The parents of murder victim Dana Ireland are pushing a bill that would eliminate the statute of limitations for Class A felonies like rape and kidnapping.

Dana Ireland was kidnapped, raped, beaten and abandoned on Christmas Eve 1991 on the Big Island. Just this month, a man wanted for unspecified reasons in connection with the case was located on the Big Island.

John Ireland submitted testimony urging senators to pass the bill because he has learned that an "unknown individual" may be involved in the incident, but cannot be prosecuted for kidnapping and rape because the statute of limitations of six years has run out.

"A law that restricts the time that lapses from the date of commission of violent crime until the date of indictment is unjust and is biased in favor of criminals," Ireland testified.

There is no statute of limitations on murder and, even if the bill passes, it would not affect the Ireland case.

The Public Defender's office testi

fied against the bill, and said the possibility of convicting the wrong person is minimized when prosecution is prompt.

"The lack of a statute of limitations creates a situation where a person may be wrongly accused, and as time passes defending oneself becomes more and more difficult," testified Deputy Public Defender Ronette Kawakami.

Big Island Deputy Prosecutor Charlene Iboshi told the committee that changing technology is making it possible to solve cases years after the crime. She said if there are multiple defendants in a case and only one committed the murder, those who participated in the sex assault and kidnapping could go free.

"That's unfair," she said.

In the past five years, she said, 21 cases on the Big Island involving Class A felonies have lapsed because of the statute of limitations.

Judiciary Committee Co-chairman Avery Chumbley (D, Kihei) asked Iboshi if the change in the law is being prompted by just one high profile case.

"I hate to base our policy on a single incident," he said.

After the hearing, Iboshi said the bill is not about just one case.

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