The non appearance of a Chinese translator forced the Court to reschedule the sentencing of two Chinese men who have been convicted of stealing more than $70,000 from the A.T.M machines of the Bank of South Pacific.
Yang Quigreen and Zhong Shuiming, who are under police custody, are represented by lawyer, Alex Su’a.
The prosecutor is Lupematasila Iliganoa Atoa, of the Office of the Attorney General.
Presiding is District Court Judge, Fepuleai Ameperosa Roma.
During the proceedings Mr. Su’a told the court that he had managed to get the translator in the morning however, he was unable to get a hold of him (translator) in the afternoon.
“However Your Honour, I advise the court that since the matter today is just for Your Honour to hand down your decision, the process that I have arranged with the Ministry is that they will inform the Chinese Embassy and they will then update the translator with all the reports given today,” said Mr. Su’a.
However District Court Judge Fepuleai’s concern is that the two accused have to understand the sentencing and the reasons for the court’s decisions.
“I am grateful counsel for the arrangements today but this is the final decision of the court and it should be translated to both accused as the sentence is called,” he said.
“[And] obviously it is very important for them (accused) to be aware of the sentence and of the reasons as the sentence is handed down to them.
“So the translator is not available today but the court is ready to hand down the sentence but that is my concern.
“Again I’m grateful to counsel for arranging the translators in the past but that is a matter for the Ministry and in this case, the Ministry should arrange for the translators to be present in the court and to translate the sentence.
“What I’m going to do is I have decided not to hand down the sentence obviously because the accused will not be able to understand it, but I will also instruct the Ministry to liaise with the Chinese Embassy to obtain the assistance of a translator and once that is settled, then we will recall this matter and hand down the sentence.
“We will adjourn this matter until a translator is obtained by the Ministry and then we will again call the matter for sentencing.”
Last month the pair was convicted.
Judge Fepulea’i pointed out the defendants were initially charged with 16 charges however prior to the trial, they both pleaded guilty to four charges.
These include intentionally accessing A.T.M. without authority; theft of $9,700; theft of $1,000; theft of $12,500. The total amount for this is $23,200.
During the trial, two more theft charges were dismissed, leaving 10 other counts which were the subject of the trial.
For the theft charge in the amount of $24,900, they were found guilty in the lesser sum of $19,150; theft of $16,200 they were found guilty in the lesser sum $12,400; theft $6,150 they were found guilty in the lesser sum $3,100; theft of $23,950 they were found guilty in the lesser sum of $11,700; theft of $15,700 they were found guilty in the lesser sum of $1,000.
They were also found guilty of intentionally accessing A.T.M. without authority with the purpose of committing a crime of dishonesty.
They were however acquitted of three theft charges, involving two separate withdrawals of $300 each and theft of $20,500.
The total amount for these theft charges was $47,350.