27 February 2014 by Chris Kilpatrick
Sex offender's appeal over conduct of court interpreter fails
A sex offender attempted to have his conviction for attacking a woman quashed after claiming an interpreter – who was not properly qualified – told the victim what to say in court.
The Court of Appeal this week dismissed the appeal by Noel Jesus Foronda against his conviction for the offence of sexual assault.
Foronda was found guilty by a jury last May and sentenced to two years, one of which he was ordered to spend in prison.
He appealed the conviction, citing concerns over the conduct of the Filipino interpreter employed for the case by the Public Prosecution Service (PPS).
The Court of Appeal heard that during the Crown Court trial the interpreter appointed on behalf of Foronda informed the judge that the PPS interpreter had been prompting the victim.
Quizzed by Foronda's lawyer, the interpreter confirmed she was not registered with the National Register of Public Service Interpreters, as required for a Crown Court trial. She had been employed through the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities.
The interpreter also confirmed accepting a lift from the woman's family from the court doors to the main gate.
The trial judge said he was not satisfied that the PPS interpreter was feeding the witness answers and that it would not be in the interests of justice to discharge the jury, as requested.
He directed, however, that the PPS interpreter should not continue to interpret on behalf of the woman because of her lack of appropriate qualifications.