The criminal proceedings against two men from Albania – a small coastal country in South-Eastern Europe – has been postponed due to a language barrier.
The men, Valdet Tafhasaj and Fatlind Cenaj were first brought before Magistrate Ayanna Baptiste-DaBreo for illegal entry on Wednesday. However, the proceedings had to be pushed to Thursday at 11 am because there were no Albanian interpreters present at court.
Magistrate DaBreo used the Google Translator application to communicate with the Albanian duo to inform them that they would be returning to court the next day.
On Thursday, when the matter was recalled — this time before Magistrate Christilyn Benjamin — there was an Italian interpreter present.
The court heard that one of the men spent four years in Italy and had a basic understanding of that country’s language. He would then be required to interpret what was being said by the court to his co-accused in their native tongue.
However, this brought a new issue into question. BVI News understands that it was against court protocol to have a defendant interpret for another defendant.
Another issue was the fact that Italian was not his first language. And after a more-than-one-hour recess, the magistrate said the matter would be recalled before the court for the third time next Monday.
“It will not be in the interest of justice to proceed without an Albanian interpreter,” Magistrate Benjamin argued.
She then said no effort would be spared in the court’s quest to obtain an independent Albanian interpreter for the proceedings. Magistrate Benjamin further ordered that the accused men — who have been in police custody since they were first arrested on Monday — be remanded at Her Majesty’s Prison in Balsam Ghut.
The men are represented by attorney-at-law Leroy Jones.
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