At the sitting of the Circuit Court this week in Donegal, Judge John O’Hagan was scathing in his remarks when an interpreter failed to turn up resulting in an adjournment of the case until the next term and a considerable cost to the State.
The case involved a number of non-nationals and the Judge had earlier highlighted the importance of the interpreter to up on 100 jury panel members who had been called for selection.
“As both parties involved in this case are Chinese nationals it is essential to have an interpreter present to preserve the course of justice,” he told the court.
After a lengthy recess, Justice O’Hagan dismissed the jury when he was informed that an interpreter would not be available despite her being present in the court on the previous Tuesday.
Informed legal sources told the Donegal Democrat: “This debacle could have cost the State anything up to ten thousand euro.
“You have to take into account the legal costs including council, solicitors, court officials and gardai as well as the fact that nearly 100 people have lost a day’s work.
“There is also the matter of expenses which have been incurred by witnesses some of which I believe have travelled quite a distance.
“Perhaps that what is most important to stress is that nothing has been achieved in this case today - it has been simply a wasted day. The whole procedure along with the inherent costs has to be repeated at the next sitting.”
Judge O’Hagan said: “This is a complete waste of a day and people’s time.
“Potential jury members have travelled a considerable distance to perform their civic duty and missing out on a day’s work and I am informed that witnesses and solicitors have also travelled from as far away as Dublin.
“I am not blaming the prosecution but when people have a job to do they should do it or at least give some advance notice of a potential problem in attending.”
“An agency is employed by the Courts Service to supply interpreters for cases such as this and they have failed in their obligation.
“As a result I am awarding costs of today’s proceedings to the defence against the State.”