Truth lost in translation in court

AN AFRICAN man who requested a Swahili translator in order to face court came back the following day and admitted he did not really need one.

Damuru Bizimana, 18, was due to face the Hervey Bay Magistrates Court on Thursday charged with public nuisance and obstructing police but told his solicitor he was not able to understand the proceedings.

A translator was ordered and the matter adjourned but an embarrassed Bizimana returned to the courthouse on Friday to face the charges without aid.

Bizimana was spoken to by police on November 20, after they received reports of a man walking through Torquay armed with a baseball bat.

But when detectives caught up with him and asked why he was armed with the bat, Bizimana kept saying “Huh?” and refused to co-operate, prosecutor Jeanette Grigoris said.

He began waving the bat around and yelling and it was only when one of the detectives threatened to use capsicum spray on him that he sat down and dropped the weapon.

He “resisted violently” when he was arrested by police, Senior Constable Grigoris said.

Defence solicitor John Milburn said his client had been “moderately intoxicated” after drinking rum and had not realised the two plain clothes officers were police.

Magistrate Graeme Tatnell said he did not think Bizimana was able to pay a fine, given that he was a student living in Queensland temporarily.

He placed the teenager on a 12-month good behaviour bond.

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