• Tue. May 21st, 2024

No interpreter means lawyer forced to use Google Translate

Byoxfordnewspaper

Aug 21, 2022

AN ADVOCATE said he had battled to communicate with his cannabis farmer-accused client using Google Translate – as no interpreter was available.

Pham Hoang, 18, was before Oxford Crown Court accused of producing the class B drug at a commercial scale factory in a flat in Underhill Circus, Barton.

The Vietnamese teenager was allegedly found at the 270-plant cannabis farm by police officers during a raid on July 19.

Gareth James, defending, told Judge Maria Lamb: “Mr Hoang is a Vietnamese national who speaks no English.

“I have tried French [Vietnam was part of French Indochina until independence in the 1950s] and that did not work.

“I resorted to using Google Translate to explain very basically to him we are in a difficult position without an interpreter.”

The Oxford Mail understands that no interpreter was booked when the case was sent from the magistrates’ court to the crown court last month.

Notwithstanding the fact no pleas were taken to the single charge, Judge Lamb provisionally fixed a trial date for January 16 next year. The case is expected to last between one and two days.

Hoang will return to court on September 1 for an adjourned plea hearing. He spoke only to confirm his name and was remanded in custody.

Cathy Olliver appeared for the Crown Prosecution Service.

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.

To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward