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Defendants Laughed As Barrister Translated Their "Bare Haters" Textspeak

There were giggles in court when a prosecution lawyer had to explain to the jury what a series of text messages from a 17-year-old defendant actually meant.

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Teen slang can be baffling to older people – so spare a thought for one barrister who had to translate a teen's texts into standard English during a criminal trial this week.

Mark Paltenghi

Mark Paltenghi

Snaresbrook Crown Court / Creative Cmmons

Snaresbrook Crown Court

Mark Paltenghi, of Atkinson Bevan Chambers, was prosecuting in the trial of four teenagers accused of firing at people's houses in Dagenham, East London. The prosecution alleges that the group discussed the incident in a series of text messages. But the jury needed some help understanding them.

According to Court News UK, one said, in a text to a contact called "female boss": "Hurry up I've got bare haters around me now." Paltenghi told the court this meant:

BuzzFeed / Patrick SmIth

This message was allegedly sent by the youngest member of the group, who is charged with providing at least one of the weapons. It is alleged they broke or cracked the windows of at least three houses, before being stopped by the police.

Another said: "Hurry up, I've got a strap on me, this is bare bait." Paltenghi translated this for the jury into:

BuzzFeed / Patrick Smith

According to the Court News UK, the defendants burst out laughing when Judge Patricia Lees asked them: "Do you agree with these translations?"

The defendants are Scott Stokes, 20, his brother Jason, 18, and Anne-Marie Madden, 25. A 17-year-old can't be named for legal reasons.

All four deny all charges, including affray, possessing firearms or imitation firearms. The trial continues.