HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) -Last week, Hawaii News Now detailed the case of Roynes Dural, whose sex assault conviction 16 years ago has been overturned by the appeals courts.
It’s a tragic story of injustice on several levels.
First of all, a pre-teen girl was sexually abused by an adult she trusted.
She said it was Dural, but she was actually involved with another older man – who she married right after Dural was convicted.
Despite that pretty glaring red flag, no one in our so-called justice system – not the police, the prosecutors or the courts – were willing to expeditiously reexamine the case.
Dural, a decorated veteran with a promising Navy career, ended up spending eight years in prison, eight years on parole and is still on the sex offender registry.
It took the intermediate court and the supreme court all those years to finally reverse his conviction, after the Hawaii Innocence project took up his case.
And by the way – the actual culprit, the one who really did sexually assault the victim – has never been prosecuted.
While exonerations like this are rare, it is disturbing that our law enforcement agencies and courts can essentially ignore an innocent man sitting in prison.
We believe their job is not just to win convictions, but to seek justice.