Essex

Essex man skips bail after interpreter 'not available'

Halwest Muradi Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Halwest Muradi has not been seen since his court date on 2 August

A man has gone missing after being released from court because an interpreter could not be found.

Halwest Muradi, 24, was charged with rape, attempted rape and sexual assault after a woman was attacked in Colchester in November.

Mr Muradi was last seen at Colchester Magistrates' Court on 2 August.

Without an interpreter present, the prosecution could not continue within the 24-hour custody limit and he was released.

Mr Muradi, who is of Iranian descent, was first arrested on 31 July and appeared in court the same day.

He was given bail conditions requiring him to remain at home but was arrested in a van in Kent for breaching bail on 1 August and returned to Colchester Magistrates' Court the next day.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "In this case, an interpreter was required for the case to proceed on Friday 2 August.

"The information received by the court from the interpreting service was that an interpreter would not be available and, despite strenuous efforts by the court to find another interpreter, it was not possible to do so."

Essex Police said it was searching for Mr Muradi, who is described as 5ft 7ins (1.7m) and of medium build with short, dark hair.

Anyone who knows of his whereabouts is asked to contact the force.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "We continually meet the demand for interpreters and complaints about any of the issues raised are extremely rare."

Thebigword, the company which provides interpreters for the justice system, said it had booked an interpreter who was able to attend court by 13:00 BST but by that time CPS had withdrawn the breach of bail.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites