10 Oct 2016
Leazes Park sex assault trial: Jury told of 'second major' error from translators
A jury has been shown two “major” errors in interpreting the police interview of one of three Syrians accused of sex assaults on two 14-year-old schoolgirls in a park.
Jurors have been told to ignore the original transcript of the 20-year-old Mohammed Alfrouh’s interview with detectives, and were read a re-translated version of what the Arabic-speaker said.
The married defendant denies three counts of sexual assault said to have been committed at Leazes Park, Newcastle, on two schoolgirls in May.
Co-accused 18-year-olds Omar Badreddin and Mohammed Allakkoud deny a single charge of sexual assault.
Judge Edward Bindloss, sitting at Newcastle Crown Court, said there were two important errors in the translation provided by an interpreter who was present at the police interview.
Alfrouh told police he saw Badreddin kissing one of the complainants behind a pavilion in the park.
It was wrongly translated that he saw Badreddin touching her private parts, when the correct interpretation was that he saw his hand was inside her leggings, the court heard.
Alfrouh went on to tell detectives “the Devil” encouraged him to approach them, adding: “Basically, I wanted to kiss her.”
But he said his conscience stopped him, and he told police he did not touch the girl.
Judge Bindloss said this was the “second major error” in the translation, as the interpreter in the police station translated his words as “I was trying to kiss her” instead of the correct version, “I wanted to kiss her”.
Alfrouh went on to tell police he had been in this country for six months and that he had a good reputation with “no wrong doings” in Syria.
He knew Allakkoud from his home town and had seen Badreddin once before the park incidents as someone from the Syrian community, he told police.
Judge Bindloss told jurors the errors made in translation were not the fault of the Crown, the defence or the police.
If officers need an interpreter for an interview, they have to call a firm which provides them with one, the judge said.
The trial continues.