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Trial for Malibu surfers accused of beating paparazzi hits another snag

April 1, 2010 | 10:03 am
The long-awaited trial of two surfers accused of assaulting a paparazzo in Malibu two years ago was delayed yet again this week.

The mother of one of the defendants, Skylar Peak, drove over a canyon road in Malibu on Saturday, falling 300 feet, authorities said. The woman, Denise Peak, was airlifted to UCLA medical center, where she was said to be in critical condition.

Opening arguments for the trial, already delayed about a half a dozen times, were scheduled to begin Monday, and a jury had already been selected. But the judge declared a mistrial at Peak’s request.

“He wasn’t in any kind of shape to concentrate,” said attorney Harland Braun, who is representing Peak. Authorities at the scene found no skid marks at the edge of Decker Canyon Road, indicating the woman’s SUV was traveling so fast it launched over the edge, said Sgt. Philip Brooks with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept. Sheriff’s deputies were unable to interview Denise Peak after the accident because she was nonresponsive and hysterical, Brooks said.

The trial of Peak, 25, and Philip Hildebrand, 31, is now scheduled for June. The two were charged with battery after a squabble with paparazzi gathered around Point Dume for a shot of actor Matthew McConaughey. Videos of the incident were posted online, drawing wide media attention. Here's the link to one video (note: foul language can be heard).

-- Robert Faturechi