Pro surfer gets 3 days for punching officer


POSTED: Friday, November 21, 2008

Australian professional surfer Koby Abberton stood before Circuit Judge Rey Graulty yesterday and pleaded no contest to a third-degree misdemeanor assault charge for striking an off-duty harbor police officer outside a downtown restaurant on March 8.

In Kaneohe District Court, Graulty sentenced Abberton to three days in prison and six months' probation.

“;I'll put my word on it that I'll never be back here again, your honor,”; Abberton said when given a chance to speak.

A founder of the notorious Australian surf gang “;The Bra Boys,”; Abberton was the subject of a documentary released in the United States this year about a sensational shooting death that also involved his brother.

Following the sentence, Abberton was led out of court in handcuffs and will serve two days of his three-day sentence at Oahu Community Correctional Center, one day being credited for time served initially following the incident.

When asked whether she believed Abberton deserved a harsher sentence, Deputy Prosecutor Katrina Ordonio said, “;Yes, I think he got off easy. I think he should have been given more jail time based on the facts of the case, but apparently the court thought otherwise.”;

Abberton initially pleaded not guilty to the charge at a hearing this summer, claiming a case of mistaken identity.

According to the state, harbor police officer Richard Puu—who was not in the courtroom during the sentencing due to a family emergency—told authorities he was trying to break up a fight between Abberton and unnamed individuals outside Restaurant Epic when Abberton attacked him.

Puu was off duty and in civilian clothes at the time.

A native of Maroubra, Australia, and a central figure in the professional surfing realm, Abberton, 30, has forged a fearsome reputation for himself through his reckless yet smooth approach to big-wave surfing as well as his role in the founding of the “;The Bra Boys.”;

In 2004, Abberton made international headlines when he and his brother, Jai Abberton, were linked to the shooting death of fellow Australian Anthony Hines, a man with a history of violence and run-ins with the Australian police. Although Jai admitted to shooting Hines, the death was ruled an act of self-defense, and he was later acquitted.

Koby Abberton was subsequently found guilty of lying to police and hindering the course of justice; he received a nine-month suspended sentence and probation.

The documentary “;Bra Boys,”; narrated by Russell Crowe, depicted the events surrounding the killing and the Abbertons' subsequent trial.