The trial of a man accused of a string of sexual assaults in a London subway has been delayed, as an Arabic translator could not be booked in time.
Hasan Alkhabbaz told Westminster Magistrates: “No speak English” when the judge asked his address, and an Arabic-speaking associate had to explain his bail conditions, which included not entering subways.
Mr. Alkhabbaz, 22, of Islington, is accused of groping the genitals of women and slipped his hand up their skirts in Joe Strummer Subway, London.
According to the Daily Mail, prosecutor Aislinn Rice said: “This is targeting a number of women and he’s grabbing different parts, their bottom or genitals, mostly over clothing but also with his hand under skirts.
“The Crown says it’s very much targeting females in isolated areas,” she added
However things could not proceed because of the language barrier, and the case had to be adjourned until 2 pm Wednesday, when an Arabic interpreter could be booked via an agency, District Judge Nina Tempia said.
She also banned Mr. Alkhabbaz from entering subways and underpasses while on bail. “From now onwards you mustn’t use any underpass,” the judge said.
When it became clear Mr. Alkhabbaz did not understand the word ‘underpass’, she attempted to clarify. “Underpass, where you have been allegedly committing the offences in the underpass, you know what I mean.
“You mustn’t use them because this is what the police say, that’s where you’re committing these offences, where you are touching the women. I’m saying you are not allowed to use the underpass.”
The judge then told a friend of the defendant, who had also attended court, to explain his bail conditions to him in Arabic. Mr. Alkhabbaz nodded.
Mr. Alkhabbaz, of Fonthill Road, Islington, north London, was released on conditional bail until the reconvened hearing 24-hours later.
He is yet to enter pleas to six counts of sexual assault alleged to have occurred between November 14, 2016, and March 3, 2017.