Surely you can speak English!
I interpreted for a Lithuanian offender today during his initial interview with the Probation Services (Coventry).
The offender was rather surprised and pleased to see an interpreter - said he wasn't provided with one for his court hearings. He explained to the probation officer that the Magistrates informed him that it's extremely difficult to book one - apparently, the agency cannot provide one, while others are "on strike because of their reduced pay". Because of this "interpreter no-show", the offender was then kindly provided with two options - either to adjourn the hearing again or he starts understanding English (I am not joking). He chose the latter in order to get his case finally dealt with.
I have the capacity to comment on his level of English - it is not even close to intermediate.
I am not surprised that he ended up being confused with regards to his sentence and attached requirements (asked numerous questions about community payback (he assumed he needs to pay somebody money), his curfew, supervision, ESOL etc); he didn't understand his solicitor's directions either, ended up feeling stressed out and left out.
How many interpreters are ALS able to provide, 10% or less? How many cases involving a foreigner are being dealt with in such a manner? How can the Ministry of Justice (Justice? Where?) get away with that? How can ALS still function if they clearly cannot deliver on the national scale? If this is not discrimination, what is it?
I have previously alerted the Lithuanian Embassy of a couple of similar cases, asking them to speak to those in charge of the new scheme for providing interpreters, which is clearly not working. I might as well write another letter.