An African woman gave evidence to a London court for more than an hour before a clerk noticed she was not speaking English. Lawyers had struggled to understand the woman, who claims she was raped by a Kenyan preacher, but assumed their difficulties were simply due to her accent, and acoustics within the courtroom.
According to the Times, the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is originally from Sierra Leone and speaks a Creole that is native to the country. However, it was not until fellow Sierra Leonean Christiana Kyemenu-Caiquo told the judge she was speaking the Krio dialect that officials realised what was happening.
The clerk was immediately sworn in so she could act as interpreter.
The woman was giving evidence against Gilbert Deya, a self-styled “Archbishop” who is facing four allegations of rape, one of attempted rape, two of sexual assault and one of battery. He runs his ministry from a unit on an industrial estate in Peckham, London and claims to have some 36,000 followers.
During her evidence, the woman was in tears at several points. She told the judge that she had been in a relationship with Deya, but had ended it and “moved on”. However, when she visited him again to deal with some paperwork, he grabbed her breasts and said “Can we have sex?”
“Then I started to struggle. He forced me. I tear his shirt, because he was trying to force me to the floor to have sex by force.” She said that on that occasion she managed to escape.
She also claimed to have been ill-treated by some women parishioners. “They always beat me. They always come and attack me in the bookshop,” she claimed.
Mr Deya denies all charges.