Judge demands explanation from ALS
I was at Bolton Crown Court today, 14 March 2012, and observed the following: the defendant failed to appear for an assault trial in Court 3, but the witness was present - a young Lithuanian man. The decision was made to proceed with the trial, in the absence of the defendant. The only problem was: the Lithuanian ALS interpreter did not show up. Apparently, this Lithuanian interpreter had been booked a week in advance, and according to the lawyers present, ALS confirmed that morning that a Lithuanian interpreter would definitely attend. Except they never materialised. The court did not have any time left to start ringing RPSIs.
The judge tried to keep calm but it was obvious that he was extremely annoyed, referring to ALS as 'this agency again...' A two-day trial was adjourned for an indefinite period, and the witness, a victim of a cruel beating (he had his front teeth missing), was now deprived of the right to give evidence – and he had been waiting for this chance since last year.
The name of the defendant was Oswald Charitonenkov, this can be checked and confirmed. The judge in Bolton Court has demanded a written explanation from ALS regarding the missing interpreter. Also when I spoke to the lawyers, an application for wasted costs was also mentioned.
I think that the information regarding this incident should go public.
I also had a chance to talk with a fellow Vietnamese interpreter while at the court today, she is an NRPSI veteran. She said that a lawyer, who is a friend of hers, told her yesterday that the MoJ has given ALS two more weeks, and if the agency fails to improve its performance during this period, the contract will be officially terminated. I am not sure how truthful this is, but it is utterly frustrating to be observing this outrageous mess.