15 February 2016
OAP remanded in custody to resolve translation complaint
A pensioner who indecently assaulted a woman at an Angus bus station is awaiting his fate in jail.
Loi Li lost a six-month battle to retract a lost-in-translation guilty plea over repeatedly stroking a woman’s bottom in Arbroath’s Catherine Street station on September 14 2014.
But he did not comply with social inquiry reports because he “took umbrage” with a Chinese interpreter he had been assigned.
The 66-year-old appeared at Forfar Sheriff Court and was remanded by Sheriff Gregor Murray, who told him he was the “author of his own misfortune”.
Mr Loi had admitted the assault in March last year but it emerged the 66-year-old’s interpreter in the dock spoke a different Chinese language.
A legal application to withdraw his plea has been rejected by another sheriff.
Solicitor Ian Flynn said a new interview date had been set for reports with a different interpreter.
He said the original interview was with “a local interpreter that Mr Loi knew and took umbrage to”.
Sheriff Murray said: “Every part of this case has been delayed following your original plea of guilty. The latest delay I do not find to be acceptable in any way.
“Considerable money has been wasted to date in this case, and I want to be certain that there is an interpreter and you are there at the same time and place.
“For those reasons I will remand you in custody until that date.”
The court previously heard Loi, of High Street, Arbroath, spoke the Sino-Tibetan language Hakka and had been given an interpreter who spoke the more mainstream Cantonese dialect.
However, a sheriff on that occasion was told the opinion of another interpreter that the Cantonese for “guilty” and “not guilty” were sufficiently different that Loi could not have misunderstood his plea.
Solicitor Sarah Russo said the man had been in the UK for 45 years, worked in restaurant kitchens across Tayside in that time and has little English.
While he was “uneasy” that Loi understood everything that was said before his plea, the sheriff was sufficiently satisfied he was aware what he was doing.