A witness gave evidence in court for over an hour this week before it was pointed out that she wasn't speaking English.

The woman, originally from Sierra Leone, was appearing at the rape trial of preacher Gilbert Deya at the Inner London Crown Court. Barristers repeatedly asked her to speak more clearly and to step away from the microphone, until eventually the court clerk (who also hailed from Sierra Leone) told the judge that the woman was speaking Krio, an African Creole variant. The judge swore the clerk in and she acted as an interpreter*.

Deya, who styles himself Archbishop (despite his see being an industrial estate in Peckham, South London) is charged with repeatedly raping the woman. He is also fighting extradition to his native Kenya where he faces charges of abducting children and presenting them as "miracle babies" to infertile women. In 2011 his nephew Paul Deya was jailed for a minimum of 20 years for murdering his own three-year-old son. Lovely family.

    The Archbishop of Peckham yesterday

Barristers claimed that they thought the witness was speaking English, but they were unable to understand her due to her strong accent and the court's poor acoustics. The trial continues.

*cf. the possibly apocryphal but widely reported story of a German sailor appearing before the Glasgow Sheriff Court who claimed not to speak any English. A man in the public gallery said that he spoke fluent German and offered to help. He was sworn in and asked to establish the sailor's name. The interpreter turned to him and yelled, "vot ist your name!". The judge fined him £200 for contempt.

Have your say.
The RollOnFriday Firm of Year 2015 survey is now open, and so is the survey for in-house lawyers.
Tip Off ROF


Anonymous 14 December 14 20:19

Bugger - here was me thinking how great my Dad's story was about the day he was waiting for his own appearance in court in Dublin when a German tourist was on the stand and a young student from Trinity volunteered to translate and...