Jordan Thomas murder: Case against defendant’s mother collapsed over lack of interpreter during interview
The case against the mother of one of the men accused of murdering Jordan Thomas collapsed due to police not having a proper interpreter present when they first interviewed her.
Tazeem Bi, the mother of Asif Yousaf, was charged with perverting the course of justice on the grounds that she was alleged to have claimed her son was at home with her on the night of the murder.
But it can now be reported that judge Mr Justice Green ruled that a key piece of prosecution evidence - a police note of an interview with Ms Bi the day after her son was arrested - was inadmissible and could not be disclosed to the jury.
He made the ruling as Ms Bi, who was born in Pakistan and speaks limited English, did not have an interpreter present during the interview with a detective constable.
Her daughter acted as a translator on that occasion.
But when Ms Bi gave a subsequent interview to police with a qualified translator present, she indicated she was not certain about the events of the evening.
Mr Justice Green said a translator was ‘essential’ to ensuring the nuances of a person’s answers were accurately recorded.
He said there were risks that allowing the evidence would create an ‘unfair’ impression, as there was a ‘real question mark’ over the accuracy of the evidence.
The ruling resulted in the prosecution deciding to drop their case against Ms Bi and she was found not guilty midway through the trial.
Asif Yousaf was found not guilty of murder and attempted murder but his father Mohammed, who is married to Ms Bi, was found guilty of perverting the course of justice.
The jury accepted Asif Yousaf’s version of events that he had played no part in the murder after being asked to pick up the car used in the killing in exchange for free crack cocaine.
But his father was convicted for lying to the police by providing his son with a false alibi that they were together at home on the night of the killing.
Forensic enquiries carried out on his phone revealed he was actually in Leeds at the time and could not have been with his son. Mohammed Yousaf was given a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years.