Critical Mass trials end with dismissal of last two defendants

By Michelle Roberts

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The last two Critical Mass bike protestors who went to trial earlier this month had their charges dismissed by the city prosecutor's office Oct. 16.

City magistrate Michael Pollard declared a mistrial Oct. 2 in the cases of Jan Abbington and Peter Ianchiou, neither of whom are UA students, during the original trial.

They, like 15 other people involved with the case, were charged with obstructing a public thoroughfare.

Pollard said he thought he saw the bicyclists riding in front of his car on his way into court on the morning of Oct. 5. He said because he thought he had personal knowledge of illegal activities by the defendants, he had to remove himself from their case.

They would have been retried in early November.

Defense attorney Paul Gattone said the city prosecutor's office dismissed the charges because there was insufficient evidence to proceed, and officers could not identify the defendants specifically.

Of the 17 people represented by Gattone, 15 were acquitted or had their charges dismissed. The other two, who were convicted on Oct. 5, will be sentenced on Nov. 6.

Gattone said he was generally pleased with the results of the trials.

"Obviously, I was disappointed with those convictions, but it's not a bad percentage," he said.

The protestors were arrested while riding in an April Critical Mass protest. They rode their bicycles north on Cherry Avenue onto Speedway Boulevard. The protestors were stopped before they reached Campbell Avenue.

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