Sunday, June 26, 2022 |
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WAILUKU — A Hawaii jury has acquitted a Maui man who was charged with kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman.
The jury found Binh Le, 44, not guilty of kidnapping and multiple counts of sexual assault after deliberating for less than an hour Tuesday, The Maui News reported .
“We are happy and grateful that the jurors took their jobs seriously and saw this case for what it was,” Deputy Public Defender Ben Lowenthal said. “Mr. Le is grateful and happy to be out of jail and can begin his life again.”
A 19-year-old woman had told police that she was walking down a road in Kihei in June 2016 when Le stopped his car and pulled her inside.
Le then stopped at a gas station, but the woman was afraid to leave the car, she told the court on the first day of the four-day trial. She was then taken to a house and assaulted before police arrived, she said.
Lowenthal told the court that the woman was an “unreliable witness,” noting that the evidence did not indicate a kidnapping. The woman was left alone in the car at the gas station and had opportunity to flee, he said.
“What she has given you is a far-fetched and preposterous story,” Lowenthal told the jurors. “She is completely discredited by other witnesses, by police officers.”
The verdict was not what prosecutors wanted, deputy prosecuting attorney Jeffery Temas said, but bringing the case forward allowed “the community opportunity to consider the evidence and bring closure for the parties involved.”
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