WAILUKU - Saying an assault in a Lahaina bar last week was unprovoked, random and violent, a judge Monday kept bail at $50,000 for a Lahaina man charged in the crime.
Following a preliminary hearing, District Judge Blaine Kobayashi ruled that there was sufficient evidence to support the first-degree assault charge against Maitland Tufaga, 25.
The assault was reported at about 1:30 a.m. Oct. 16 at Lahaina Sports Cafe Bar on Wainee Street.
Jeff Cook testified he was drinking his second beer and sitting at the bar talking to a friend sitting on his right when a man on his left "said something to me."
"I don't think I quite understood him," Cook said. "I looked back over to my friend or I looked straight ahead. Next thing I know, I got hit in the face."
Cook, 29, said he was hit with a beer bottle that split his lip from the top of his front tooth to one-fourth centimeter below his nose. Three of his teeth were chipped, Cook said.
"I didn't even get up," he said. "I sat there and first thing I did was I put my head down. I remember feeling my teeth in my mouth and I spit them out. Then I realized I was hurt, and there was blood everywhere."
Cook went to the Maui Memorial Medical Center emergency room, where he was treated with 11 stitches to his lip.
In court Monday, Cook pointed out Tufaga as the one who hit him with the beer bottle.
Tufaga was arrested the day after the assault when he turned himself in, said Detective Gordon Sagun of the Lahaina Criminal Investigation Division.
Sagun said he sat in as Lahaina patrol officer Kamuela Mawae interviewed Tufaga, who reported being at the bar and talking to a friend when "a Caucasian male said something about dumb locals."
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Tufaga said he got upset and struck the male in the mouth, Sagun testified.
He said Tufaga reported that "emotional hardships along with the alcohol made him lose his temper."
Tufaga said he thought he had hit the man with the back of his hand and didn't realize he was holding the bottle.
"He said he was very sorry for what happened," Sagun said.
The detective said he reviewed surveillance tapes that show Tufaga making a lunging move toward Cook, then grabbing the beer bottle and hitting Cook in the face.
An emergency room doctor who treated Cook reported that he would have a permanent scar above his lip, Sagun said.
During portions of the hearing while Cook was testifying, Tufaga appeared to be sobbing and wiping tears from his face.
Deputy Public Defender Greg Ball asked that Tufaga's bail be reduced, saying he has a full-time job and residence.
But Deputy Prosecutor Carson Tani asked that bail remain at $50,000, citing Tufaga's record of six contempt-of-court convictions.
Tani said it was "disconcerting how unprovoked and how random this assault was."
In keeping bail at $50,000, Kobayashi said he had to balance Tufaga's job and residence with "the serious injuries that the victim sustained and the unprovoked, random and, in the court's opinion, very violent nature of the incident."
Tufaga is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 1 in 2nd Circuit Court.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org