A Crown court judge asked a defence barrister to trawl the Chinese restaurants of Cardiff to find an interpreter after the company contracted to provide translators failed to do so on two occasions.
The Gazette has learned that Liu Sun was taken to Cardiff Crown Court on 16 July after being arrested on a warrant in relation to offences of importing prohibited goods. She denies the charges.
His Honour Judge Burr adjourned the case until the following day as no Mandarin interpreter had been provided by Capita.
When the case returned to court on 17 July there was still no interpreter, prompting the judge to make the request, which the defence barrister declined to carry out.
On the third occasion the defendant was brought to court, an interpreter was provided.
A similar problem had occurred at the same court on 15 July when the case of another Chinese defendant, Liu Guiying, had to be adjourned.
Last week the Ministry of Justice published the latest quarterly statistics on the court interpreter contract, which showed that for the first three months of 2014 the number of fulfilled requests rose, although the figure remains below the 98% contractual commitment.
Of 45,100 requests made by courts and tribunals, Capita provided an interpreter in 94.5% of cases, suggesting that 2,480 cases were potentially disrupted due to the lack of an interpreter.
In relation to the first case, a spokeswoman for Capita said the company ‘does not have a record of unfulfilled bookings for Cardiff Crown Court that match the name and dates provided’.
On the second, she said Capita assigned an interpreter but that the court had made the booking for the wrong time and the interpreter could not make the revised time. She said Capita ‘continued to try and source an alternative interpreter up until the day of the booking and kept the court fully informed throughout’.