3 February 2014 by Matthew Coxall
[…] In relation to the provision of interpreters, I recently had a defendant who was produced at court on no fewer than five occasions without an interpreter being available. The police had failed to book an interpreter the first time and then on the following four occasions, no one turned up despite an interpreter being booked by the court. Eventually, the court decided that enough was enough and bailed the defendant.
This was a serious case involving an extremely vulnerable alleged victim. But because of the way in which the defendant had been treated (that is, not getting an effective hearing for nearly a week), the court reluctantly decided the defendant should be bailed until such time as proper arrangements could be made.
More recently, in relation to another defendant who had been on police bail for nearly a year and interviewed with an interpreter on a number of occasions during that period, the police again failed to make arrangements for an interpreter for the first hearing. The case was deferred for a few days to arrange an interpreter. At the follow-up hearing, the interpreter said they would be there at 2pm and the case was put back to 2pm. Then the interpreter said they were not coming. The court had reluctantly to adjourn once more. Since I began dictating this letter the interpreter has failed to attend the preliminary hearing at the Crown court.
These are just a few recent examples from my own experience and I am sure there are many other solicitors who have similar tales of woe. […]