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Lack of interpreter postpones court hearing for refugee

By DOUG ALDEN
New Hampshire Union Leader

August 03. 2017 10:09PM




AUGUSTIN BAHATI

MANCHESTER — A court hearing for a Congolese refugee on domestic-related criminal charges refiled by city prosecutors was postponed Thursday because there wasn’t an interpreter available.

Augustin Bahati was there for the status hearing Thursday morning in 9th Circuit Court-District Division and sat in the courtroom for several hours because the interpreter scheduled to translate during the proceedings did not show.

Judge Gregory Michael rescheduled the hearing for Aug. 24 at 8:30 a.m.

The case against Bahati was dismissed in March because he was deemed “culturally incompetent” to understand the American justice system. Acting City Solicitor Emily Gray Rice, who was also in the courtroom waiting for the interpreter, submitted paperwork last month to refile the charges against Bahati.

Bahati, 33, was arrested last August and accused of striking, pushing, grabbing, kicking and pulling out the hair of a woman who was 27 weeks pregnant.

He faced five charges of domestic assault and one of sexual assault, all misdemeanors.

But on March 2, Circuit Court Judge William Lyons dismissed charges against Bahati. City prosecutor Andrea Muller and Bahati’s attorney agreed with an expert that deemed he was incompetent to stand trial, could not be restored to competency and was not dangerous.

The case was highlighted by Attorney General Gordon MacDonald when he released a stinging critique of domestic violence prosecutions in the Manchester office in June.

The critiques led to the abrupt retirement of the two top officials in the City Solicitor’s Office, which handles most misdemeanor prosecutions, and the appointment of Rice as acting solicitor.

dalden@unionleader.com


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