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Forced retrial highlights interpreter concerns

18th April 2012

A burglary case is to be sent for retrial after it emerged in court that an interpreter had mistranslated a defendant’s testimony.

Employed by Applied Language Solutions, the interpreter apparently relayed to the judge and jury that the person in question – a 13-year-old Romanian-speaking girl – had been bitten by an intruder, when she was actually claiming to have been beaten.

The mistake only became apparent when the girl was asked to produce photographic evidence of a bite mark on cross-examination. The case was suspended until further notice upon discovery of the error, with an eventual retrial expected to cost somewhere in the region of £25,000.

The case has brought to public attention concerns surrounding the current system of employing court interpreters, which have already been raised by a number of solicitors working in London lawyer jobs.

ALS were hired in January as the Ministry of Justice’s official providers in trials that require interpreters, and there have since been several occasions on which law firms have had to issue wasted cost orders against the company.