Another defendant remanded courtesy of ALS
I went to Ipswich Crown Court to observe a case of a Lithuanian defendant on 29th March. A preliminary hearing was supposed to start at 14:00 but it didn't. Guess why? No ALS interpreter. An ALS interpreter was booked but for some reasons she didn't show up. The defendant had spent 10 days in Norwich Prison awaiting this hearing. His barrister told the judge that it was the second time the interpreter for this defendant hadn't turned up. His first hearing was supposed to take place on 19th March but because no interpreter was present and he couldn't be granted bail, he had to be remanded until this hearing.
The judge said he was horrified that they had to spend money on this and ordered the Court to make an inquiry as to why the interpreter did not show up and trace her. The defendant's barrister added that when they did show up, interpreters were inexperienced and did not know legal terminology. The judge, however, was determined to grant him bail and ordered to find the interpreter in the next hour (miracles do happen but not in courts). He said it was not fair to go ahead with the matter because the defendant did not understand English. I left the court room at that point and talked to the solicitor in the case.
He was the same solicitor that had to resort to Google translate and who I know from the Magistrates Court. He knew I am the interpreter and asked whether I could stay to interpret for the defendant if he speaks my language and offered to write me a cheque for my services right there and then. I politely declined his offer; he only smiled and said he had 4 cases adjourned last week and the only interpreter who showed up was awful. Just to add to the story - the defendant was charged with rape.