19 November 2013
Bradford Crown Court judge hits out at interpreting service as case delayed again
A judge has hit out at an interpreting service for twice failing to provide a Polish speaker to help two women being sentenced at Bradford Crown Court for keeping a brothel in the city.
Judge John Potter said he would speak to service provider Capita himself if necessary to end the “wholly unsatisfactory” delay.
Renata Klodka and Anna Winiarska were due to be sentenced last Tuesday for keeping a brothel on Southfield Lane, Great Horton, but no interpreter turned up and the court was told it would be a week before one could be made available.
The case was relisted yesterday and Klodka, 46, of Manchester, and Winiarska, 45, of Glenlee Road, Lidget Green, Bradford, turned up in good time, along with all three lawyers in the case.
But Judge Potter had to postpone sentencing again, until today, because of the lack of an interpreter.
The court was told the Polish speaker had broken down on the way to court.
Judge Potter said this was “far from satisfactory” and asked for urgent enquiries to be made to try to get an interpreter to court in the afternoon.
“I have no idea why the interpreter services cannot do what they are contracted to do,” the judge said.
“If necessary, I will speak to the interpreter services myself.”
After waiting all morning, the women and their lawyers were told an interpreter would be here today.
Judge Potter apologised to the defendants for the inconvenience and rebailed them.
Both women pleaded guilty at earlier hearings to keeping a brothel on March 9.
A third Polish national arrested with them jumped bail and may have left the country.
In February, MPs on the justice select committee described the privatisation of court interpreting services as “shambolic”, saying it had caused trials to collapse and suspects to be remanded unnecessarily in custody.
The damning report criticised the decision by the Ministry of Justice to hand a near-monopoly of courtroom interpreting to the company Applied Language Solutions (ALS).
ALS is now owned by the service provider Capita.
A spokesman for Capita said the court was informed immediately the company became aware that the interpreter had broken down on the way, and it had been arranged to fix the case for today.