A simple shop theft court case: how much does it cost the tax-payer?
A case of a defendant charged with a shop theft, who duly attended Lincoln Magistrates’ Court 3 times and not a single time an interpreter was provided. He ran out of money by the time his hearing was listed for the fourth time so he didn’t go. A warrant was issued for his arrest and he was brought before court for free. What sentence did he get? A conditional discharge! No real punishment, in other words. He also got a travel warrant to travel back to Boston, 30 miles away.
Under the old booking system the most local interpreter would have attended for the first hearing and the cost would have been 85 pounds and the matter would have been concluded on the first day.
How much did 3 adjournments, police time and resources, an interpreter and travel end up costing under the new arrangement, outsourced to Applied Language Solutions? Substantially more, as Lord McNally, in fact, confirmed by saying that it’s unlikely that any savings in court interpreting would be made at all this year. It looks like the new system is not working at all.