AMERICAN FORK A jury trial for a man accused of playing a role in the bench-clearing brawl at a prep football game at American Fork High School last November was going to start today in 4th District Court.
But it's been postponed and it may not take place at all.
Williams Shawn Asiata, 19, has been accused of simple assault, a class B misdemeanor, for allegedly kicking one of the football players twice in the head during the fight at the quarterfinal 4A gridiron game between American Fork and Hunter high schools.
Asiata is from West Valley City and is a former student at Hunter, which lost the game 41-19.
On Tuesday Brett Anderson, Asiata's attorney, appeared in court to request an impromptu suppression hearing, claiming that the prosecution has not allowed him or Asiata to review the six original tapes that were subpoenaed during the investigation and were expected to be used as part of the case against Asiata.
"The city claims to have had six video tapes of the event, and me and my client were only allowed to see one of those," said Anderson.
Anderson says he has made unsuccessful, repeated requests for the other five tapes. Friday afternoon, however, he was told the other five tapes have been returned to the owners, he said.
He said that police would not inform him who those people were and how to get in contact with them.
Anderson also said that the one tape he was allowed to watch cuts out at certain moments and appears to be missing pieces of film.
"I have some concerns that there may have been some doctoring of the tapes," he said. "I don't know if they have negligently cut out something or if the camera just cut out, but I would like to get to the bottom of it."
Judge Howard Maetani heard both sides of the argument during the suppression hearing on Tuesday and sided with the defense by canceling the jury trial and giving the city 30 days to produce the six original videos, as well as names and addresses of those who have had them. Otherwise, the case will be dismissed.
Maetani also scheduled a new pre-trial conference to take place July 2, should the prosecution provide those requests within that time limit.
Anderson says he has never encountered a situation quite like this while dealing with the prosecution. He also says that it is unfortunate because Asiata just wants to get his name cleared and move on. Now, if they get the videos and information from the prosecution and follow the natural order, the most likely time for another jury trial to be scheduled would not be until this fall, which is nearly a year after the fight occurred.
"The problem is that (Asiata) has the right to a speedy trial, and this is holding him back from college plans and other future plans," said Anderson. "My client maintains his innocence, he has no prior criminal record, and he also has some interest in possibly serving an LDS mission, but he is unable to move forward during this ongoing legal process."Kasey Wright, the prosecutor in this case, was out of the office Wednesday and did not return phone calls.
E-mail: [email protected]