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Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court

No. SCWC-11-0000762 Thursday, November 21, 2013, 8:45 a.m.

STATE OF HAWAI`I, Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. SUSHIL BASNET, Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant.

The above-captioned case has been set for argument on the merits at:

Supreme Court Courtroom
Ali`iolani Hale, 2nd Floor
417 South King Street
Honolulu, HI 96813

Attorney for Petitioner/Defendant-Appellant:

Steven T. Barta

Attorney for Respondent/Plaintiff-Appellee:

James M. Anderson, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

NOTE: Order accepting Application for Writ of Certiorari, filed 09/26/13.


[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

Sushil Basnet was charged with abuse of a household or family member. The Complaint alleged that Basnet “did intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly physically abuse [the complaining witness], a family or household member[.]”

In his arraignment before the Family District Court, Basnet entered a plea of not guilty and demanded a jury trial. The case was therefore committed to the Family Circuit Court. However, no order committing the case to the Family Circuit Court was filed. Further, Basnet was not re-arraigned in the Family Circuit Court. Following trial, the jury found Basnet guilty.

The Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) held that the failure to enter a commitment order or to re-arraign Basnet, if improper, constituted harmless error. The ICA also held the Complaint was sufficient to charge the offense because the terms “physically abuse” and “family or household member” adequately informed Basnet of the accusation against him, consistent with the ordinary meaning of those words.

In his Application for Writ of Certiorari, Basnet asks if the ICA erred in its holdings.