#Article (Archive)

Lack of Spanish interpreter stalls Gamcotrap trial

Jan 28, 2011, 9:25 AM | Article By: Bakary Samateh

The criminal trial involving Isatou Touray, executive director of the Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (Gamcotrap), and Amie Sosoho-Bojang, programme coordinator of the same organisation, yesterday failed to proceed at the Banjul Magistrates’ Court for lack of official Spanish interpreter.

The two prominent women right activists are being tried before Acting-Principal Magistrate Alagba for allegedly stealing €30,000, being money provided by the YALOCAMBA SOLIDARIDAD of Spain to Gamcotrap.

When the trial resumed, the prosecuting officer, Superintendent Sainey Joof, told the court that the prosecution wanted to proceed with a witness, and had a Spanish interpreter.

However, defence counsel Amie Bensouda raised an objection to the interpreter on the grounds that "the prosecution cannot bring his own interpreter" to court.

She argued that it was the court that should provide an interpreter through its registrar and not the prosecution.

"If the witness cannot speak English Language, the prosecution should have notified the court before bringing his own interpreter in court," she further argued.

She pointed out that the defence did not know the interpreter and they could not ascertain his skills of interpreting in Spanish Language.

Counsel further submitted that though the prosecution did not know the procedure but the court knows the procedure.

She therefore urged the court to disqualify the interpreter, adding that the particular interpreter was even disqualified in the eyes of the law.

Counsel Amie Bensouda pointed out that the witness speaks English, because she dealt with the accused persons in English Language during the alleged transaction between them.

Responding to the defence counsel‘s objection to the interpreter, the prosecuting officer, Superintendent Sainey Joof, told the court that the prosecution tried to get the interpreter to enable the witness to give her evidence.

He added that the prosecution brought the interpreter to court to make some progress in the case by allowing the witness to give her evidence.

The trial magistrate adjourned the case till 29 January 2011 for the court to provide official interpreter.

In a separate development, the economic crime trial of Edward Graham, former managing director of Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation, was also yesterday adjourned until 9 February 2011 for hearing.