Christy Anandabhavanam, aged 43, from Watson Street in Portadown, appeared in the dock at Craigavon Magistrates Court on Friday accused of a number of offences including possession of an offensive weapon with intent to commit an indictable offence, threats to kill, two counts of false imprisonment, assault and domestic abuse on October 17, this year. He is further accused of attempting to assault a woman on dates between April 1 and April 30 this year.
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The District Judge Bernie Kelly asked the interpreter, who was appearing via video link, to ask the defendant if they could hear each other. The interpreter said, in English: “Hi can you hear me?” To which the defendant replied, in English, ‘yes’.
The district judge said to the interpreter: “I am missing something here. I understood you were asked to come here today to interpret in an language other than English because the defendant doesn’t speak English. Could you ask him in his native language whether he can hear you and confirm to me what he has replied to you in his native language.”
The interpreter spoke to the defendant and responded to the district judge: “Yes your honour, he said that he could hear me.”
District Judge Kelly asked him if he was happy enough that the defendant understood the language he was using to interpret. After speaking to the defendant in his native tongue, the interpreter said it was OK.
The charges were read to the defendant in English but there was confusion over translating those charges to the defendant. With the district judge clearly infuriated, the interpreter said he was currently ‘having a chat’ with the defendant ‘to know exactly what happened’. The district judge said: “You do not have to have a chat with Christy right now to know what happened. All we need to know is that he understands the charges that he faces. My clerk is patiently reading these charges in English and we are patiently asking you to translate them into whatever language it is that Mr Christy is conversant in. That’s all we are asking you to do. Do not chat with Mr Christy. Kindly just read the charges.”
After some toing and froing, the district judge asked the prosecutor to connect the defendant to the charges he faces. On questioning by the prosecutor, a PSNI constable said she could connect the accused to the charges.
Defence barrister David McKeown asked if the interpreter could explain that there will be no bail application as there is no available address which the interpreter did.
The defendant spoke to the interpreter who said: “Your Honour he would like to explain something to you Your Majesty.” The court erupted in laughter.
The interpreter said: “Your Honour, he says that he has not done such mistakes and he is not knowing what happened exactly.”
The case was adjourned until November 17.