Interpreting Dagenham

In interpreting teenage slang for the jury, what could Mark Paltenghi do? Your honour, this is bare hard to understand: Laughter in court as barrister has to translate defendants’ teenage slang into plain English

A barrister had to translate text messages sent between teenagers into plain English in court after they included slang like ‘bare’ – meaning really- and ‘bait’ – meaning blatant – for the judge.

During the shooting spree in Dagenham, the group are said to have sent text messages to each other, which were read out by the prosecution along with the ‘translations’.

In one message, sent by the youngest defendant who is 16, to a contact called ‘female boss’, he wrote: ‘Hurry up I’ve got bare haters around me now.’

Prosecutor Mark Paltenghi – in his fifties – informed the jury: ‘Next to it in italics you have it re-written.

‘It means: ‘Hurry up, I’ve got a lot of people who don’t particularly like me here.’

Another text read: ‘Hurry up I’ve got a strap on me, this is bare bait’.
Mr Paltenghi told the jury: ‘We believe this means: ‘Hurry up, I’ve got a gun on me, and this is really risky’.’

Defendants Scott Stokes, 20, his brother Jason, 18, Anne-Marie Madden, 25, and 16-year-old who cannot be named for legal reasons, burst into laughter.

Jurors also giggled when Judge Patricia Lees asked the defence barristers: ‘Do you agree with these translations?’

(First seen in Metro headed I’m a barrister, innit)

LATER NOTE: Just in, the report of a witness speaking Sierra Leone creole (Krio) for an hour before anyone in court realized it was not an acoustics problem.

Witness gave evidence for an hour before anyone in court realised she wasn’t speaking proper English

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