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Ex-officer testifies he lied about chief’s mailbox theft

HONOLULU — A retired Honolulu police officer testified Tuesday that he lied about evidence regarding a mailbox reported stolen from a former chief’s home.

Niall Silva is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice and making false statements. He testified in the trial against ex-chief Louis Kealoha, his wife and current and former officers. They’re accused of conspiring to frame a Kealoha relative for stealing the couple’s mailbox to keep him from revealing fraud that financed their lavish lifestyle.

Silva, who was a technician in the Criminal Intelligence Unit, said he filed out a report saying he recovered surveillance footage from the Kealoha home on the 2013 morning their mailbox was reported stolen. But what really happened is that Lt. Derek Hahn gave it to him at police headquarters and it was Officer Bobby Nguyen who took it from the Kealoha home that morning, Silva said. The three of them conspired to lie about the evidence, Silva said, because “it wouldn’t look good if Bobby had turned in the evidence because he used to reside with the chief.” Nguyen was married to Katherine Kealoha’s niece and lived in the Kealohas’ pool house, prosecutors said.

The Kealohas, Nguyen and Hahn have pleaded not guilty, along with retired Maj. Gordon Shiraishi, who is also on trial with them.

Silva told the same lie when he testified at the 2014 trial against Gerard Puana, who is Katherine Kealoha’s uncle, for the theft of the mailbox. The trial against Puana abruptly ended in a mistrial after Louis Kealoha gave improper testimony about Puana.

When he testified at that trial, he became upset when he saw Puana, he said. It was the first time he had seen Puana and his “heart sank” because he didn’t look like the person seen in the surveillance footage hoisting the mailbox into a car.

“I was like that is not him in the video cause he was one thick guy, no neck,” Silva said of Puana. The unidentified man in the video was “scrawny,” Silva said.

“Now I’ve perpetuated a lie,” Silva recalled of his 2014 testimony. “And it was against somebody who wasn’t guilty.”
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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