Turkish interpreter fails to appear for arson hearing

A judge described the Ministry of Justice’s new interpretation system as “descending into the farcical” after a Turkish interpreter failed to turn up at the hearing of a woman accused of arson.

Judge Simon Carr made the remark at a preliminary hearing for Sevcan Davaz at Wood Green Crown Court yesterday, after an interpreter booked to translate for her did not appear. He instructed the interpreter and a representative from Applied Language Services, which supplies translation services at Wood Green Crown Court, to appear before him at 9.30am this morning to explain the absence.

Ms Davaz’s defence counsel said the interpreter had been present that morning, but could not be located after earlier hearings in the same courtroom were delayed. However, he said he was confident they could proceed with the hearing without need for an interpreter.

Sevcan Davaz is charged with two counts of arson in connection to a fire at a flat in Crofton Way, Enfield. She is accused of deliberately starting the fire with the intention of endangering lives. She spoke only to confirm her name and to enter a not guilty plea on both counts.

Her defence counsel submitted to the court the findings of a psychiatric report to “highlight certain issues” relating to the plea. The judge adjourned the hearing until 7 March to allow the Crown to consider the psychiatric evidence and to accept an amended plea.

Ms Davaz will be remanded in custody until her next hearing.