Thursday, 23 October 2014

Scotland: Charity's fear over sex fiend interpreter 

Charity's fear over sex fiend interpreter
A charity that supports women affected by sexual abuse has expressed "deep concern" after it emerged a convicted sex attacker acted as a translator for vulnerable female asylum seekers.
The Evening Times exclusively revealed last night that Misrak Eyob has access to asylum seekers represented by city lawyers Katani and Co.
The 24-year-old Eritrean was jailed for four years in 2009 for attempted rape and told he must be supervised for a further two years on his release.
Dawn Fyfe, director of Glasgow-based Say Woman, said: "We would be concerned that someone who has a conviction for sex offending would not only have access to survivors of sexual abuse but would be responsible for interpreting their experiences.
"We would hope that any organisation which has any- thing to do with vulnerable people would take every step to ensure that they are not put at risk."
It is understood Eyob, who works on a freelance basis, is not on the Scottish Legal Aid Board's register.
The Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) pays up to £30 an hour for interpretation services.
Solicitors are reimbursed for the money they spend on translators.
A SLAB spokesman said: "It is the solicitor's duty to ensure that the interpreter is appropriate and suitably qualified."
The majority of Eritreans who seek asylum in the UK are given legal aid and immigration lawyers Katani and Co earned more than half a million pounds from SLAB last year alone.
The Evening Times understands the watchdog responsible for regulating Scotland's solicitors is likely to be in touch with Katani and Co following our revelations.
A spokeswoman at the Law Society of Scotland urged clients to complain if they have concerns.
She said: "It's important for clients and the public to be able to have complete faith in their solicitor."
Misrak Eyob attacked a 35-year-old woman in July 2009 in Royston.
During his trial he blamed 'the devil' for his actions.
Eyob, who had been in Scotland seven months at the time of the attack, was found guilty and jailed for four years.
Judge Sean Murphy QC also ordered that Eyob be supervised for a further two years on his release.
A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: "Registered sex offenders are supervised in the community via the Multi- Agency Public Protection Arrangements, also known as MAPPA.
"Either police or social work staff will take the lead on monitoring an individual, depending on the circumstances of a particular case.
"From a social work perspective such individuals are considered as clients of social work services and we therefore have a legal duty to respect their confidentiality.
"We cannot discuss an individual case."
A Scottish Government spokeswoman also declined to comment on Misrak Eyob's case but said: "Any person receiving a sentence of more than two and a half years is required to tell employers about their past offending when going for a job.
"This ensures employers can know about a person's background when deciding whether to employ them.
"Such offenders are worked with on an individual basis to ensure effective risk management, public protection, harm reduction, and rehabilitation."
A spokeswoman for Katani and Co declined to comment. Misrak Eyob could not be reached for comment.

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