Freedom Rider begins court journey: Man arrested during protest drive has first day in court

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WAIMEA— A Captain Cook man accused of driving without proper materials during “Freedom Ride 2016” — and whose car was at one point suspected of having an explosive device on it before it was cleared — made his initial court appearance Tuesday.

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WAIMEA— A Captain Cook man accused of driving without proper materials during “Freedom Ride 2016” — and whose car was at one point suspected of having an explosive device on it before it was cleared — made his initial court appearance Tuesday.

William Gilroy, 62, was in Judge Michael Udovic’s court for his arraignment and plea to a citation alleging he drove without insurance while taking part in a ride that advocated things such as insurance not required to drive.

The “Freedom Ride” was started by people who believe that the Constitution’s provision of freedom to travel means private vehicles do not have to be registered and their operators do not have to be licensed.

Judge Udovic ended up entering a not guilty plea for Gilroy, who told the court that he wanted to have a common law court instead.

“We’re not going to enter a dialogue. You are here today to enter a guilty, not guilty or no contest plea,” Udovic said, noting Gilroy’s objection, and setting the next hearing for 8:30 a.m. March 15.

Gilroy was accompanied by several members of the Hawaii Common Law Grand Jury. The group, which is not a recognized part of the county, state or federal governments, believes, “The common law jury is our last protection against tyrannical law and an out of control government that only pays lip service to our rights and their oath of office,” according to its website.

Gilroy, Rodney Emile Piedvache, 72, of Naalehu, and William Troy Seaburg were all cited by law enforcement on Jan. 2 during a mass ride that took place in Hilo. During Seaburg’s initial court appearance back in January, he said, “I don’t have a name” although he was identified after posting bond.

During his time in court, Gilroy did not leave the seating area, making his initial statements away from the defendant’s desk. Court staff provided him a microphone so his statements would be recorded.

Gilroy’s police stop back in January led to a bizarre saga.

After Gilroy’s car was towed to Waimea following the initial encounter with police, the owner of the tow yard found a long tube on the vehicle he thought was suspicious and reported it to law enforcement. It resulted in the tow yard being shut down and nearby homes being evacuated as explosive crews dealt with what was deemed a suspicious device at the time. But Gilroy described it as a water fuel cell, a device built around a PVC pipe, using hoses and electric hookups to increase the gas mileage.

The investigation into that incident is ongoing, said Chris Loos, media relations for police.

Gilroy has already made several filings related to the case dealing with how he was improperly treated. Gilroy’s filings include the statement that he is a “beneficiary of the USA Corporation.” Gilroy told West Hawaii Today that on Saddle Road on Jan. 2, he was stopped by a police officer who slammed on his brakes in front of Gilroy’s vehicle and the officer pointed a gun at him.

The other men who were cited in the ride have their own appearances.

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Piedvache, who is charged with driving with an improper license and driving without motor vehicle insurance, was referred to the public defender’s office and is due in court on March 9 for his arraignment.

Seaburg, who is charged with refusing to provide identification, driving a motor vehicle with an improper driver’s license and driving without motor vehicle insurance, did not appear in court after posting bond. His bond was forfeited and a bench warrant has been issued.

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