By Rhealyn C. Pojas

Charges filed against a man who was accused of trafficking a controlled substance and criminal conspiracy had been dropped, after the court granted his motion to dismiss the charges.

Defendant Kalingo Kangichi, who was facing charges for one count of trafficking a Controlled Substance and one count of Criminal Conspiracy to Traffic, had filed an instant motion to dismiss the charges against him by citing certain provisions of the Speedy Trial Act.

The Speedy Trial Act states that in any case in which a plea of not guilty is entered, the defendant’s trial shall begin within 70 days from the date that the accused has appeared before a judge or justice.

“If a defendant is not brought to trial within the time limit required by section 403 (c) as extended by section 403 (h), the complaint shall be dismissed upon motion of the defendant,” 18 PNC § 403 (C) stated.

Based on the order dated June 22, 2018 which was issued by Associate Justice Kathleen Salii, it was stated that defendant Kangichi contended that the Republic had failed to bring him in trial within 70 days after his arrest or initial appearance on March 26, 2018.

In the same order, it was stated that the defendant further argued that “the Republic’s failure to proceed to trial within 70 days requires that the charges contained in the information must be dismissed and that, in his case, dismissal with prejudice is appropriate.”

The plaintiff further argued that the charges should not be dismissed for want of prosecution because the defendant never asserted his right to a speedy trial and that he had not also requested that the matter be set for trial.

“The record is clear in this case. Trial did not commence within 70-day time period required under the Speedy Trial Act, and Defendant never waived his right in writing as required,” the order stated.

The order also cited that “staffing” issues at the Attorney General’s Office should not be held against the defendant, “particularly when an attorney from the Office of the Public Defender appeared at all scheduled conferences in this case, and as Defendant correctly argues, he has no duty to bring himself to trial, and no duty to bring any delay to the court’s attention.”

“Based on the record of this case, dismissal without prejudice to re-file the charges would be punishing the Defendant for the Republic’s violation of the Speedy Trial Act,” the order further stated, adding that while “the charges are, in fact, serious felony charges, the Defendant has met his burden of proof and has sufficiently alleged and has demonstrated prejudice resulting from the delay in bringing him to trial.”