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Plea deferred owing to lack of sign language interpreter

Plea taking for a middle aged man arrested on suspicion of assaulting his step brothers was Monday deferred by a Kiambu court as the court lacked a sign language interpreter to help him follow proceedings.
David Mbugua Wairinga had been arraigned before Kiambu senior principal magistrate Ms Stella Atambo but could not take plea as he was said to be deaf and dumb.
Efforts to convince him that plea taking was going to be deferred did not go well with him as he responded through writing on some paper he had carried to court and it was handed over to the magistrate.
After the magistrate read the contents, she responded and court clerk Mr. Richard Otene responded on the same paper for him to understand what was going on during the short brief session.
Ms. Atambo explained to him through writing that the court would make arrangements for him to be provided with an interpreter who could assist him to communicate with those in court later on.
According to the charge sheet, he is expected to be charged with three (3) counts of assault, an offence he allegedly committed on October 26, 2018 at Gachie area of Kiambaa.
For the prosecution, Ms Christine Mbevi told the court that she required two weeks within which she believed she would be able to provide the accused with an interpreter.
The mother to the accused stood up in court and explained that he was her firstborn son and that her husband had married another woman and chased her away from her matrimonial home. She told the court that the children of her co-wife had ganged up to assault her son when he defended himself.
The magistrate listened but explained to her that all that will come out during the hearing as there were witnesses who would testify in the case. His case will be mentioned on November 27th when an interpreter will be availed for him.
The same court further experienced delay during plea taking following the inability of accused people’s knowledge of Kiswahili language. There was more drama when two (2) young court clerks who hail from the region were unable to translate proceedings for the day from English to their mother tongue, the Kikuyu language.
The court which took pleas from people arrested in the traffic crackdown took break to allow an elderly court clerk to be sought before the proceedings continued. At the time of going to press at 5.00p.m, more people were still in the cells and were yet to take plea.
The court has previously experienced similar incidents where lawyers have had to be called in to translate proceedings for the magistrates to clear a backlog of cases.
By Lydia Shiroya

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