7 Oct 2016
Leazes Park sex assault trial: Errors from Arabic translations delay proceedings
Errors in interpreting three Arabic-speaking men’s police interviews have caused delays in their sexual assault trial, a jury has been told.
Married Syrian Mohammed Alfrouh, 20, denies molesting two 14-year-old girls in Leazes Park, Newcastle in May.
He is on trial at Newcastle Crown Court for three counts of sexual assault.
Co-accused Omar Badreddin, 18, and Mohammed Allakkoud, 18, each deny a single count of sexual assault, said to have been on a girl behind a pavilion in the park.
During the trial which started last week, the jury has been read transcripts of the defendants’ interviews after they were arrested, where detectives’ questions were asked in English, translated into Arabic then the men’s replies were interpreted back into English.
Judge Edward Bindloss told the jury: “It has turned out in each of the three defendants’ cases there were some errors made in interpretation, some of them minor, some of them more significant.
“The problem was discovered on Wednesday afternoon, when things were re-checked and all of yesterday was taken up with interpreters re-transcribing, which is a long process.
“It’s not the fault of the four barristers, it’s not the fault of any of the three defendants.
“It’s not the fault of any of the solicitors in this case.
“The CPS are not to blame, none of the defence teams are to blame.”
The judge did not want to prolong the trial unnecessarily, adding: “However, we all have a responsibility to put before you accurate evidence.
“You have a decision to make, you cannot make a decision on faulty evidence.
“The bad news is, it is going to take a bit longer. I’m going to send you away until 10.30am Monday morning.”