Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Accused of 15 sexual assaults against women on buses, can't plea in court as interpretor is 'unavailable'
23 Nov 2016

Mohamed Alhamoud, accused of 15 sexual assaults against women on buses, can't plea in court as interpretor is 'unavailable'
A man charged with more than a dozen sexual offences against women could not formally enter a plea because an interpretor was unavailable to attend the court.
Mohamed Alhamoud appeared at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday for a plea and trial preparation hearing.
Alhamoud is alleged to have touched women inappropriately whilst travelling on buses in Colchester on 15 occasions.
The incidents are said to have taken place between August last year and May this year.
Mitigating for Alhamoud, Richard Wood said he was not allowed to enter a formal plea because of the language barrier.
However, Mr Wood said he believed Alhamoud would deny the charges.
Mr Wood said: “For reasons I am not clear about, there is not an interpretor here today.
“Although Mr Alhamoud does speak some English, it is not sufficient for me to be satisfied he understands the advice I am giving him.
“Previously, he has had a conversation with a colleague with the help of an interpretor and it has been quite clear he wanted to deny the offences.”
In a previous hearing, Colchester Magistrates Court was told Alhamoud has long-standing mental health issues which relate to him having been tortured in his home country of Syria.
He has been deemed fit to plead and answer the charges put before him.
Alhamoud, 43, who appeared in court walking with a crutch, was flanked by two carers from Basildon Hospital where he lives.
He is now likely to stand trial on May 22 next year subject to his plea being confirmed by an interpretor. […]

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