Judges Issue 'Slow Down' Plea in Lockerbie Trial

Published June 14th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Judges at the Lockerbie trial in the Netherlands have announced several measures in response to the defense complaints about translation facilities, reported the BBC.online Tuesday.  

Proceedings since the trial began on May 3rd are to be translated into Arabic and copies given to the two Libyan men accused of the bombing in 1988.  

The presiding judge, Lord Sutherland, also said lawyers and witnesses should remember to speak slowly and interpreters had been told to signal if they could not keep up, added the BBC.  

A system is to be installed allowing translators to indicate with lights if they are falling behind.  

Proceedings are also to be tape-recorded, with the tapes checked against the court transcript to ensure accuracy.  

Last week, the judges ordered an urgent inquiry into the Arabic interpretation the two Libyan defendants were receiving after defense counsel said it was too poor for the accused to understand proceedings fully, the BBC said.  

Lord Sutherland told the court: "The translation for the benefit of the accused must be as far as possible consistent with the result of a verbatim translation.  

"Should any matters arise of which the accused were for some reason unaware and on which they want to give instructions to counsel about further cross-examination, a motion for the recall of a particular witness or witnesses may be made."  

Defense lawyer William Taylor said he was "comforted" by the ruling.  

Legal analysts had said last week's defense motion might lead to dismissal of the case or, if the defendants were found guilty, to an eventual appeal, according to the BBC - Albawaba.com 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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