Rape trial adjourned again due to interpreting issues
The trial of a rape case with a Hungarian victim and defendant was first set to be heard in April 2013, however due to some legal arguments the trial could not go ahead. The dispute was over the following: the initial video interview of the victim was conducted by the police with the help of a qualified interpreter who is registered with the National Register of Public Service Interpreters.
I understand that at some point before the trial went ahead, concerns had been raised by the defence interpreter that the interpreting of certain elements of the video interview was incorrect. This interpreter was supplied by Capita and as far as I am aware she does not hold any interpreting qualification in this language (Hungarian).
The court decided to adjourn the trial to November so that an independent review of the video interpretation could take place. Following this CPS contacted an independent interpreter (qualified and registered with the National Register) and following a thorough check the independent interpreter confirmed that the initial interpreting of the interview was indeed correct and the concerns of the Capita interpreter were unfounded.
In November this year the court booked an interpreter directly from the National Register for the trial (unsure about the reasons why they bypassed Capita, most likely Capita was unable to provide anyone), however on the first day it came to light that this interpreter had previously interpreted for the defendant, therefore the court had to release the interpreter due to a potential conflict of interests and they requested another one for Day 2.
On the second day an elderly lady turned up who was hard of hearing, therefore struggled to hear and interpret the proceedings. They dismissed her and requested a replacement. Capita could not confirm whether they would or would not be able to supply an interpreter for the following day so on the 3rd day of the trial all parties were waiting and praying for an interpreter to turn up but by 10:30 it was confirmed that they could not find anyone. The judge had to make the decision to adjourn the trial for the second time as by now they had run out of the time that would have been required to hear this case. The rape victim was again sent home and asked to return next April which is the earliest date when the court can re-try this case.
I feel totally disgusted by this system that lets down a brave woman like this victim who had the courage not only to report this crime to the police, but to go all the way and attend a crown court trial to give evidence and talk about the most horrific things a woman could experience. She was extremely disappointed and, I hope I am wrong but, I doubt she will turn up again in 6 months’ time.
Thousands of pounds have been wasted by delaying this trial for several days for no other reason other than interpreting issues caused by Capita. Not to mention the fact that a potential rapist is still amongst us and justice may never be served if this victim decides not to attend the next trial.
This is not an isolated case; I understand that one of the barristers in the case said it was her 3rd trial this year that had to be adjourned because of lack of interpreter. How can the Ministry of Justice still claim that the new system works and saves money, it’s beyond me!