Foleshill rape trial: Judge orders re-trial after interpreter mistranslates evidence
A retrial has been ordered in the case of three men accused of gang-raping a woman they met outside the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.
The judge in the trial at Coventry Crown Court called a halt to proceedings after it was revealed that evidence was being mistranslated to the jury.
Calin Lacatus, Timotei Baran and Costantin Vila are all accused of attacking the 30-year-old woman after allegedly driving her to a remote spot in Foleshill in the early hours of January 27 this year.
Lacatus and Vila, who are both 27 and from Victory Road, Foleshill, and 20-year-old Baran, of no fixed address, have denied charges of rape and sexual assault.
The trial at Coventry Crown Court had just entered a second week when the case had to be halted and the jury discharged after it came to light that evidence given by one of the defendants had been mistranslated.
The defendants - and some of the witnesses - had been giving evidence with the aid of an interpreter.
The application for a mistrial was put forward by Lacatus’s barrister, Flavia Kenyon, and was accepted by Judge Phillip Gregory.
Laying down his decision to order a retrial, Judge Gregory said: “This is a serious and troubling case from both points of view.
“If the indictment is a true book, then the complainant in this case was grossly sexually abused by three complete strangers, causing her to suffer an appalling experience and immense psychological distress thereafter.
“She is not alone affected in that way, as so is her partner.
“If these defendants were to be convicted with this indictment they would face extremely long period of imprisonment.
“If this is not a true book, then they have found themselves on the wrong end of appalling allegations which would have caused them huge concerns, with two being remanded in custody for seven to eight months and all three risking many years in jail.
“Therefore, the trial process must be fair and everybody’s evidence must be properly and accurately given to the jury so they can come to conclusions that must be firmly grounded in the evidence.
“It became apparent that evidence was being mistranslated. It must have been extremely difficult for his barrister - who speaks the language - to stand by while answers were not given correct translations and proper nuance.
“The jury were given a false impression as to what was being said.
“Therefore, the jury will be discharged and a re-trial take place. This causes me no pleasure.”
Baran and Vila were remanded in custody while a new trial date is fixed - which could be in several months’ time - and Lacatus was granted bail with strict conditions.