11 November 2021
Court forced to use Google app in place of absent translator
An Ipswich court was forced to use a translation app to communicate with a defendant who speaks limited English after an interpreter failed to attend his sentencing hearing.
Twenty-three-year-old Vilson Bracho, of no fixed address, was due to have been sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court via a prison video link on Thursday for an offence of being concerned in the supply of cocaine earlier this year.
However, the hearing was unable to proceed after the court was notified that a Greek interpreter booked by the court couldn’t attend.
Judge David Pugh, who has complained about the failure by the company contracted by the Ministry of Justice to provide translators for the court on a number of previous occasions, said Thursday’s hearing was “completely wasted” as there was no interpreter.
“I don’t know how much that costs the public purse,” he said.
In the absence of an interpreter, a barrister in the case used a Google translation app to explain to the defendant in Greek that his hearing would have to be adjourned for two weeks until December 1 to allow an interpreter to attend and for him to get legal representation.