Defendant gets sentenced without ALS interpreter
Today at Reading Magistrates’ Court, Court 5 there was a Romanian defendant for sentencing after a pre-sentence report had been prepared. Of course, there was no Romanian interpreter present. Reading Magistrates’ Court did call me today but as before I said “no”. However, after long delays and numerous promises from ALS to send an interpreter for the afternoon session this defendant decided to go ahead without one. Our colleague, a Polish interpreter, got involved and he tried to explain as much as he could that it was not wise to go in without an interpreter due to certain legal requirements he should be aware of. The solicitor, court clerk, crown prosecutor all agreed that the hearing could go ahead without the services of an interpreter!!!!
As observed by our Polish colleague, the Romanian defendant went in. His English was worse than broken and the only words spoken by this guy were: “YES/NO”. He was given a community order and he left the court more than puzzled!
Just to mention the fact that this guy had an interpreter at the Police Station, Probation Services for the pre-sentence report and for his first court hearing. This is really upsetting and also worrying! I cannot believe that they agree to do that!!! The solicitor was not helping the client at all.
There is no justice and there is no shame. It is all about saving a few pounds and ignoring the basic rights. It makes me think even harder and wonder "what's next?"