26th September 2020
'Do you speak basic English?': Pakistani man from Worcester challenged in court
A Pakistani man who 'threatened violence' was challenged by a magistrate about whether he needed an interpreter as he was asked if he understood 'basic English'.
Shabbir Choudhrey of Canterbury Road, Ronskwood, Worcester admitted that he breached a non-molestation order (NMO) when he appeared before magistrates in Worcester on Thursday.
However, his solicitor, Mark Sheward, asked that the case be adjourned for an interpreter who spoke either Urdu or Punjabi as he did not believe the defendant's English was good enough to understand what was happening in court.
The 42-year-old admitted breaching the NMO on April 8 this year. He 'threatened violence towards Ansa Elsa Ahmed and used abusive language towards her' which was prohibited by the order made at the family court on June 14 last year and amended on September 5 last year.
Mr Sheward said of his client 'he does understand some English and he's able to answer questions that are put to him'.
However, he added: "The problem is that he doesn't understand everything."
Mr Sheward told magistrates he had asked his client some questions and on some occasions he had 'looked at me blankly'.
"I think he would benefit from an interpreter" said the city solicitor.
Mr Sheward added: "It's going to be a guilty plea."
However, David Shadwell, the chairman of the bench, said the WhatsApp messages he had seen from the defendant 'were in perfectly good English'.
Mr Sheward said those messages were not written by the defendant but by his brother-in-law, acting on his behalf. He said the defendant's brother-in-law had previously interpreted for him. Mr Sheward said: "But my Urdu isn't what it was."
Mr Shadwell then put questions to Choudhrey directly in the dock, asking him why he was concerned about not understanding what was being said in court.
The defendant replied: "Again please."
The chairman persisted, asking very slowly: "Do you understand basic English communication?"
Choudhrey answered that he did. He was further asked: "Is the speech communication your worry, that you cannot understand us?"
However, this was met with silence from the defendant and the chairman said that answered his question.
Magistrates then agreed to adjourn for an interpreter until Thursday, October 1 when the defendant is expected to be sentenced. He was granted unconditional bail until then.