Justice CommitteeWritten evidence from Pawel Nalewaj

This is personal submission and explains my experience from the 20 March 2012 when at Skegness Magistrates Court I met ALS, Tier 3 Linguist.

This person was absolutely unprepared. He was not dressed properly and his service quality was very poor.

He claimed that at the time he had been working for ALS for three months and was not assessed and/or vetted. He said he had never had any qualifications and was not planning to get one as he was offered jobs without them. He has driven all the way from Northampton as this was the furthest booking he could get to earn some extra for travelling.

Case Details

Case date: 20.03.2012.

Court building: Skegness Magistrates Court.

Case name and number: Tomasz Mejlum/1100106929.

URN: URN 32C90345811.

Judges name: (district judge).

Lawyer’s name and their firm’s details: David Clapham, Eager & Co. Solicitors 33 Algitha Road, Skegness, Lines. PE25 2AJ. Telephone: 01754 766688, Fax: 01754 610049.

CPS prosecutor: David Beal.

ALS interpreter’s name: Leslaw Fiutowski (booked for one language, Polish).

I have visited Skegness Magistrates Court yesterday (20.03.2012) where I have worked for the CPS and their three witnesses. The defendant, Polish national, had an ALS linguist present to interpret for him. It was a male, wearing black trainers, mudded jeans, long sleeved sweat shirt and a cardigan. He was not wearing any id badge and was absolutely unprepared as he didn’t even have a notepad.

I have spoken to this ALS linguist and he has informed me that he has been working for ALS for the past three months and they were sending him to courts from the very beginning. Mr. Leslaw Fiutowski has registered himself with ALS and was allocated to tier 3 because he has no qualifications. He told me that because ALS is short of interpreters they offer him tier 2 jobs and he is ever so happy to accept them. He told me he has no qualifications what so ever, he has not been vetted, and/or assessed in anyway (oral or written). He told me he only has an old CRB certificate but ALS has not seen it.

Mr. Fiutowski was interpreting for the defendant when he was giving his own evidence from the witness’ box, which took about 20 minutes. From the very beginning Mr. Fiutowski wasn’t behaving very professional and was omitting up to 30% of the message he meant to interpret. Things that he was interpreting were only about 60% accurate. He was discussing matters with the defendant (maybe trying to establish the facts) and not informing those present what was going on. He was adding a lot of things from himself and clearly making some things up. When he was trying to interpret he was not making any notes and obviously he was omitting a lot of things eg he didn’t interpret one thought of the defendant when the later said, he was talking with his friend Krzysztof, present at that time. Mr. Fiutowski was gesticulating with his whole body to describe defendant’s movements and he has not interpreted some of the prosecutor’s questions to the defendant.

Some other examples of his performance:

Defendant (D): she sat at my table with her feet on the table, where I kept my lemonade.
ALS linguist (ALS): she sat at my table and she was holding my lemonade.

D: I was talking to my acquaintance.
ALS: I was talking to my accountant.

D: she was staggering.
ALS: she was moving funny.

D: it happened at night.
ALS: it happened in the evening.

D: a moment later.
ALS: after a while.

D: a week ago I had been to Poland, where I have stayed for two weeks.
ALS: two weeks ago I had been in Poland.

D: she has hit to my face.
ALS: she hit in my face.

D: few minutes later.
ALS: two minutes later.

D: two minutes later.
ALS: 20–30 seconds later.

Luckily the defendant could understand some English and therefore was replying to the questions that he was asked and not the ones that were interpreted to him.

After the case was over I have spoken to the legal adviser and to the District Judge and rose above concerns. Both, the District Judge and the legal adviser, were worried and under the impression that the ALS linguist was not up to the job. Despite they could not speak or understand Polish language they were convinced that the quality of ALS linguist’s services was not satisfactory. The legal adviser has made a note in the case file about all above mentioned concerns and was told by the District Judge to report this to HMCS Manager.

September 2012

Prepared 5th February 2013