Poor interpretation halts police officer's trial

The trial of a suspended police officer accused of bribery was stopped on Tuesday after the interpreter who was assisting the court acknowledged that he was not interpreting accurately. 

The interpreter was translating for the complainant in the case, whose native language is not English. 

Defendant Elvis Kelsey Ebanks had pleaded not guilty to two charges of bribery, in relation to allegations that he obtained a loan or benefit on two days in November 2012 with intent to interfere with the administration of justice.  

Two charges of breach of trust relate to the same incidents – that, as a public officer, he represented that the receipt of money would influence him in the discharge of his duties. 

The matter will be mentioned again on Monday, March 3. Justice Malcolm Swift said it was important that the trial restart as soon as possible with a new interpreter. 

Justice Swift handed down an order explaining that he was obliged to discharge the jury after defense counsel and the prosecution raised concerns about the quality and accuracy of translation by the person interpreting the witness’s evidence. 

“The decision to stop the trial and discharge the jury happened when the court asked the interpreter whether he was translating the witness’s answers word for word and the interpreter replied, ‘No,’” Justice Swift’s order stated. 

In court, the judge told jurors that what had happened was unfortunate, but the most important thing was justice for the witness and justice for the defendant, who was entitled to know exactly what was being said by a witness against him. 

The defendant is represented by Attorney Amelia Fosuhene. Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Trevor Ward was conducting the case for the prosecution.