Interpreter perverting the course of justice?
The Ipswich Star reports today that interpreter is under investigation following the collapse of a trial, in which she was said to have coached a victim of alleged grievous bodily harm while he was giving his evidence in a case at Ipswich Crown Court.
The trial was in its third day when Recorder Peter Wallis discharged the jury, stating that the interpreter was not reliable.
One of the 3 defendants in the dock clearly heard the Tamil interpreter from 25 feet as witness Niruban Amirthalingham was about to resume his testimony.
The female interpreter could now face possible charges of contempt of court or perverting the course of justice.
The incident took place after the trial resumed after lunch on Tuesday.
Some 5-10 minutes into the cross-examination of Mr. Amirthalingham by Matthew Jewell, representing defendant Karunanidhy Nallathamby – one of 3 defendants in the case – the barrister’s attention was drawn to his client wishing to speak to him.
Mr. Jewell subsequently asked for an adjournment, requesting that the jury, witness and interpreter leave the court.
The barrister then told Recorder Wallis his client had heard the interpreter tell Mr. Amirthalingham in Tamil before the jury returned to court: “If you get a chance tell them they snatched the bar from you.”
The Crown brought its own interpreter to court yesterday (Thursday) to verify what was being alleged by Mr. Nallathamby.
Mr. Jewell pointed out the court did not know if any other exchanges had previous taken place between the the interpreter and the witness.
Recorder Wallis remarked that on the face of things the interpreter’s action it was not merely contempt of court and could constitute a case of perverting the course of justice.
Crown Court trials are believed to cost at least £3,000 a day, so this trial had already cost the public purse £9,000 before collapsing due to an unprofessional interpreter.
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