Missing interpreter costs day in court case

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A HIGH Court judge has apologised to a jury after a whole day was lost in a trial because an interpreter failed to turn up.

The case began at Leeds Crown Court on Monday of two men accused of conspiring to murder the ex-wife of one of them in Pakistan.

But after more than an hour delay yesterday before the six man six woman jury was brought into court, Mr Justice Andrew Smith told them the reason for their “frustrating morning” was not because of any legal issues to be decided in the trial.

“The position is that one of the interpreters for one of the defendants has not come to court. Thus far I have found it impossible to either understand why or whether it is likely he will arrive.”

He said he was continuing to make inquiries about the situation and asked the jury to “bear with us for another half hour or so.”

He told them: “If I don’t make progress what I have got in mind is to abort today. I am sorry about that but I’m trying everything I can to deal with it and shall make inquiries as to why this has come about.”

After a further half hour when no interpreter had appeared the judge brought the jury back into court and adjourned the case for the rest of the day “for the reason I indicated earlier.”

He told them: “I don’t want to elaborate the explanation I gave to you as it is possible I will have to adjudicate questions as to who bears the costs.”

“I am very sorry about it, it is no less frustrating for all of us.”

He told the jury he hoped to continue the trial today but asked them to either leave a contact number with the court or ring in to minimise the frustration.

The trial is listed to last up to four weeks and involves three Queen’s Counsel, as well as junior counsel and other lawyers.