THE company responsible for providing interpreters for criminal courts in England and Wales has apologised unreservedly to York magistrates for causing a day-long court delay.
Romanian speaking Cristian Bodgan Ariel Cristea, 31, was scheduled to have his bail application and case heard at 10am.
But although staff at York Magistrates Court had booked an interpreter from Capita Translation & Interpreting, none attended.
Magistrates heard it was not until staff rang the agency that they learned, at 10.55am, that the interpreter scheduled to attend could not attend because her car had broken down at 6.15pm the previous day.
Only after the court had contacted a different interpreter directly, could Cristea start his bail application – at 4.30pm. He was successful and was able to walk free shortly after 5pm, seven hours after his case had been due to be heard.
Magistrate Jenny Taylor, speaking on behalf of all three magistrates, said of the non-arrival of the Capita interpreter: “We have had a lot of problems because of that.”
She thanked the court-booked interpreter who had rushed from Harrogate Magistrates Court where she had been working in a different case to York.
Magistrates, court staff, prosecutor and probation staff had had to wait for some time after they had finished the rest of their work and Cristea’s barrister Matthew Collins had been unable to start work on other cases he was appearing in later in the week because he had had to stay at the York court.
A spokesman for the interpretation agency said: “We have a number of procedures in place to ensure that courts are informed, in a timely manner, when Capita Translation & Interpreting is unable to source interpreters or when assigned interpreters are unable to complete a booking.
“Unfortunately, those procedures were not followed on this occasion. We have addressed the failure with the member of staff concerned and apologise unreservedly to the court for the inconvenience caused.”
Cristea, of High Street, Romford, denies charges of attempted theft of four bottles of whisky from Tesco’s Askham Bar store, going equipped for theft and assaulting a member of the public outside the store. He will stand trial at York Magistrates Court on May 21.