Posts tagged crapita

Defendant declines to appear without interpreter

An Albanian man charged with two counts of murder has refused to appear in court until an Albanian interpreter is present so he can understand the proceedings, today’s East Anglian Daily Times reports.

A man appearing on the charge sheet as Ali Qazimaj was due to appear before magistrates in Ipswich this morning in connection with the murder of elderly couple Peter and Sylvia Stuart of Mill Lane, Weybread, Suffolk.

In the defendant’s absence, his solicitor Stephen Harris expressed his frustration with Capita which is alleged to provide courts with interpreters. Mr Harris also informed the bench that his client’s name was Vital Dapi, not Ali Qazimaj.

Magistrates referred the case to Ipswich Crown Court for a hearing this afternoon.

Ipswich Crown Court

Ipswich Crown Court. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The defendant was subsequently brought before the Crown Court this afternoon and the case was adjourned until 19th August for a plea and trial preparation hearing.

Need a Kurdish interpreter? Have a Farsi one instead!

The wrong interpreters continue to be sent to courts throughout the country.

Following on from a case earlier this week in Telford (posts passim) where sending the wrong kind of interpreter resulted in a delay of 5 months in a rape trial, the wrong interpreter has now also been sent to Bristol for the case of an Iranian Kurd.

Yesterday’s Bristol Post reports on a hearing at Bristol Crown Court in the case of a man charged with possession of a knife on the city’s Fishponds Road.

Bristol Crown Court

Bristol Crown Court

Regarding the interpreter blunder, the Post states:

Arman Qabadi also said he had been provided a Farsi interpreter when he needed a Khurdish [sic] one.

It doesn’t appear in this instance that the interpreter cock-up will delay the administration of justice since the necessary pre-sentence report had not been produced and the defendant continues to be remanded in custody.

Interpreter blunder delays rape trial by 5 months

Today’s Shropshire Star reports that a rape trial at Shrewsbury Crown Court has had to be delayed by five months “after a blundering agency sent the wrong interpreter.”

The blundering agency in question – although not mentioned by the Star is most likely our old friends Capita Translation & Interpreting, which still has the courts and tribunals interpreting contract for England and Wales despite persistent difficulty in hitting performance targets.

Shirehall and Shrewsbury Crown Court viewed from Lord Hill's Column. The Crown Court is the low-rise, grey building on the right

Shirehall and Shrewsbury Crown Court viewed from Lord Hill’s Column. The Crown Court is the low-rise, grey building on the right. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Anyway, back to story…

Roberto Roa Vallejo of Telford, who is originally from the Dominican Republic, was due to stand trial for rape at Shrewsbury Crown Court yesterday. Vallejo denies the alleged offence, which took place on 29th March 2015.

At previous hearings Vallejo had the services of a Spanish interpreter with proficiency in his own Dominican dialect.

The same interpreter had been requested for his Crown Court trial. However, basic Spanish interpreter was provided instead.

Prosecuting counsel Ms Lynette McClement informed the court that the defendant couldn’t understand the interpreter. As no replacement interpreter could be guaranteed for today, Judge Peter Barrie adjourned the trial to the next available date, which is 19th September, with the blunder costing the public purse between £2,000 and £3,000.

Commenting on the cock-up, Judge Barrie is reporting by the Star as saying: “It is not the court’s fault, but it is deeply regrettable.”

When a Crown Court judge describes something as “regrettable“, one can be fairly certain s/he is in reality absolutely livid.

Another missing court interpreter

Court cases around the country are still being delayed for want of interpreters who are supposed to be supplied by arch outsourcers Capita.

Today’s Sentinel reports on a case that was adjourned yesterday at North Staffordshire Justice Centre in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Maris Dombovskis of Longton is charged with failing to provide a specimen of breath for analysis, driving without insurance and without a licence on January 19.

District Judge Jack McGarva adjourned the case until February 29 to arrange for an interpreter.

This was the second time last week that a court case at this court complex had to be adjourned for lack of an interpreter.

On Tuesday 23rd February magistrates adjourned the case of a Polish resident of Smallthorne charged with assault for 3 days to arrange for an interpreter, The Sentinel also reported.

Worcester cannabis farm case adjourned for lack of interpreter

Cannabis sativaPolish is one of the most common foreign languages for which interpreters are required in UK courts, yet it seems that Capita Translation & Interpreting, which holds the contract for supplying interpreters in courts and tribunals, still seems to be experiencing difficulties in providing Polish interpreters, nearly four years after the incompetent outsourcing giant got its hands on the contract.

Yesterday’s Worcester News reports that a case against 3 Polish nationals accused of producing 105 cannabis plants in Worcester had to be adjourned yesterday.

Marcin Pobiegly, Lukasz Kloch and Andrzey Ratowski appeared before magistrates in Worcester on Friday concerning a cannabis grow in the city’s Vauxhall Street.

However, the case had to be adjourned due lack of court time as magistrates waited in vain for a Polish interpreter to arrive.

It will now be heard on Monday, always providing that a Capita interpreter bothers to turn up.

Update 02/02/16: An interpreter did turn up on Monday and that day’s Worcester News states that the case has now been referred to Crown Court.

Courts still having trouble obtaining interpreters

In the last year of so, the prominence of the courts interpreting contract fiasco has diminished, even though the actual problem itself has never gone away.

For instance, Wednesday’s Ilford Recorder reports that a new court date has had to be set for a man charged in connection with a stabbing in Ilford “because there were no interpreters available to translate for the defendant”.

Marcel Criahan, of Hickling Road, Ilford, appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court via a video link yesterday after being arrested on 17th October in connection with an incident in which police found 49 year-old Florin Onea with a stab wound. After Onea died last Monday, police launched a murder investigation.

34-year-old Criahan was charged with GBH with intent on 18th October and appeared at Barkingside Magistrates Court the following day.

Courts interpreting fiasco rumbles on… expensively

Although it may not be hitting the headlines in the way it was a couple of years ago, Capita Translation & Interpreting’s cack-handed execution of its interpreting contract for courts and tribunals with the Ministry of Justice continues to waste public money, as well as delay and deny justice (contrary to one of the few clauses of Magna Carta still in effect. Ed.), as evidenced by this cutting from the latest edition of Private Eye.

cutting from Private Eye

Hat tip: Sarrf London.

PI4J launches manifesto at election time

PI4J logoProfessional Interpreters for Justice (PI4J) is an umbrella group an umbrella group representing over 2,000 interpreters on the National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI) and 300 British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters.

It has been campaigning since the Ministry of Justice signed an agreement with ALS (later Capita Translation & Interpreting) for the provision of interpreting services for courts and tribunals on the basis that reliable communication provided by qualified professional interpreters and translators is an essential resource which ensures that justice and human rights are upheld for non-English speakers and deaf people. This is put at risk if standards are dropped and quality is sacrificed for profit.

To highlight the threats to justice and human rights by cost-cutting on the provision of interpreters in the justice system and against the background of the forthcoming general election, PI4J has published a 7 point manifesto (PDF), as follows:

  • The use of qualified interpreters: Only qualified and experienced Public Service Interpreters to be
    used within the current MoJ Languages Services Framework Agreement and in any future arrangements.
  • Full consultation with the interpreting profession: Future arrangements cannot succeed without the
    support of professional interpreters.
  • Sustainable terms and conditions to be offered to interpreters: to ensure the success of any future
    arrangements and quality of service.
  • Independent auditing of quality and performance: Credible scrutiny of contract management and
    adherence to its provisions is essential, and should be part of the role of an independent Quality
    Assurance and Quality Management body.
  • Independent regulators: Regulation and the maintenance of registers should not be in the hands of
    private providers. In line with government guidance, since 1 April 2011 the NRPSI has been a fully
    independent regulator of the profession, paid for by the interpreters and run solely in the public
    interest. PI4J is of the view that the National Registers of Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deaf Blind People (NRCPD) should also be independent.
  • Minimum levels of interpreter qualification: Interpreter training as well as language fluency with a minimum level of entry-level qualification must be required with skills maintained and developed
    through a programme of Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Provision should be put in place to encourage the supply of Rare Language interpreters.
  • Statutory protection of title: A working group must be set up to examine the feasibility of the
    introduction of statutory protection for the title of Public Service Interpreter.

Capita ordered to pay nearly £16,000 over interpreter failure

image of scales of justiceCapita Translating & Interpreting has been ordered to pay costs of £16,000 by judge Sir James Munby, president of the family division, over its failure to provide interpreters seven times in the course of a single adoption case, The Guardian reports.

The case in question was initiated in the family court in 2012. On six occasions at Dover Family Proceedings Court and Canterbury County Court, Capita T&I’s interpreters failed to appear or arrived too late, forcing the abandonment of hearings at which the Slovak-speaking parents were contesting the removal of their children. When the case was transferred to the High Court in London in May 2014 to be heard by Sir James, Capita T&I’s interpreters once again failed to appear. He was forced to adjourn the proceedings and ordered that HM Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) should provide interpreters instead.

In his judgement (PDF) Sir James states:

There have been serial failures by Capita in this case against a background of wider systemic problems… [These were] not minor but extensive, and, at two different stages of the litigation, they had a profound effect on the conduct of the proceedings.

Sir James ordered Capita to pay Kent County Council £15,927.36.

Capita has had 3 years to hit target and has failed… miserably

Yesterday, the Law Gazette website reported that 3 years into its courts and tribunals interpreting contract with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), Capita Translation & Interpreting has yet to meet its key performance target – that of the percentage of requests filled for the provision of court interpreters.

image of scales of justiceAccording to the latest figures released by the MoJ, Capita Translation & Interpreting completed 94.8% of requests for language services in the 3rd quarter (July to September) of 2014, i.e. well short of the 98% target specified in its contract.

The Ministry of Justice said this was the hapless outsourcer’s highest success rate since the contract started in 2012.

Capita Translation & Interpreting is supposed to hit that 98% target every month and has yet to meet it at all in one single month over the last 3 years.

There’s a phrase for this: abject failure.

However, the MoJ seems to have a particular blind spot for its pet contractor’s pathetic performance. Courts minister Shailesh Vara said the interpreting contract had continued to deliver significant improvements since being introduced to tackle inefficiencies and inconsistencies (my weasel words detector is working overtime. Ed.).

Others involved in the administration of justice differ radically from the MoJ stance.

The Law Society said it was “shocking” that after nearly 3 years of the MoJ having a sole provider, the service was still failing to reach its performance target.

“A lack of available interpreters costs time and causes unnecessary adjournments, resulting in avoidable distress to victims and inconvenience to witnesses,” the Society said.

Furthermore, Shadow justice minister Andy Slaughter said it was shocking the government was unable to get a grip after three years into the contract.

I cannot disagree with either the Law Society or Mr. Slaughter. Had my failure to meet targets been of the order of that of Capita Translation & Interpreting, I would not have survived the last quarter of a century as a freelance linguist and been consigned to the dole queue long since.

You should seriously think of showing Capita T&I the door, MoJ. If they haven’t been up to the job for the last 3 years, what makes you think they’ll ever change?

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