Outsourcing and privatisation disaster outfit

  • Court interpreting service – no longer Crapita, but still crap

    Ipswich Crown CourtThe contract for the provision of interpreting services in courts and tribunals may have been removed some time ago from the dreadful Crapita to thebigworld Group and any news of it has mostly disappeared from the newspaper headlines, but the quality of the service remains as dreadful as ever, if yesterday’s East Anglian Daily Times report is to be believed.

    According to the EADT, the presiding judge, Mr. David Pugh, criticised thebigword after a case involving defendant Dudel Pitigoi had to be adjourned due to the failure of a Romanian interpreter to attend court.

    Ipswich resident Pitigoi is accused of violent disorder and possessing a golf club as an offensive weapon during an incident in Norwich Road, Ipswich on November 23 2019.

    Adjourning the case until 16th July, Mr Justice Pugh is quoted as saying:

    I will stress the importance of ensuring an interpreter will turn up.

    Behind that mild-sounding rebuke, there is a very angry man in a horsehair wig and a violet robe with lilac facings.

    Whilst the judge managed to use the correct terminology – interpreter as opposed to translator – I recommend the author and any other passing EADT hacks peruse my handy illustrated guide to learn the difference between the two. 😀

  • Fake interpreter and accomplice sentenced

    The City of London Police have reported that Mirwais Patang, aged 27, of Hillingdon, London, who stole the identity of a legitimate court interpreter and falsely provided court interpreting services in 140 cases was sentenced to two years imprisonment, suspended for two years, at Southwark Crown Court on 12 February 2021.

    Southwark Crown Court
    Southwark Crown Court. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

    Patang must also complete 300 hours of unpaid work within 24 months. He had previously pleaded guilty to 2 counts of forgery and 2 counts of fraud on 27 August 2020, plus a further 6 counts of fraud, and one count each of conspiracy to commit fraud and forgery.

    Patang first acted as an interpreter of Pashto and Dari in March 2012, using his own name and identity to register with Capita, the company contracted by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to provide court interpreting services between January 2012 and October 2016.

    Patang doctored a community interpreting certificate to prove his qualification to Capita and subsequently worked on 88 cases between March 2012 and August 2016, earning £35,574.

    In September 2014, Patang stole the identity of a more qualified court interpreter. By using this identity, he earned just over £30,000 working on 52 cases between September 2014 and July 2015.

    His fraudulent activity was eventually uncovered when Capita alerted HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) to discrepancies in timesheets Patang had submitted. This resulted in the City of London Police launching a fraud investigation.

    Furthermore, evidence collected by the City of London Police showed Patang had paid his friend, Solimann David, also of Hillingdon, £1,400 to attend court on his behalf and provide translating services for eight weeks even though David also had no qualifications to act as an interpreter.

    David, also aged 27, pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit fraud. He was also sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on 12 February 2021 to six months imprisonment, suspended for one year. He must complete 100 hours of unpaid work within 24 months.

    Detective Andy Cope, from the City of London Police’s fraud team, said:

    “The blind greed shown by Patang, and the total disregard for the implications of his actions and what it might mean for the integrity of serious criminal trials, is truly appalling. By thinking of only his own financial gain, he has undermined confidence in the criminal justice system and put victims of crime through unfair stress and worry.”

  • 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.
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