Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Galamsey queen trial: Chinese interpreter rejected


The search for a Chinese interpreter has once again left the trial of Asian Huang, known popularly as the Chinese galamsey queen, and four other Chinese illegal miners, hanging.

An interpreter, Yun Chin York, who is a Chinese law student in Ghana brought by the court to discharge the duties of interpreting proceedings was fiercely resisted by both the prosecution and the defence.

They could not trust his objectivity. His understanding of Ghana’s legal system was deemed to be problematic for the two parties, Joy News’ Joseph Ackah Blay reported.

The prosecution of Aisha Huang and four others has faced several challenges, one of which is the communication gap.

The galamsey queen was arraigned on May 9, 2017 on three counts of undertaking small-scale mining operations contrary to Section 99(1) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), providing mining support services without valid registration with the Minerals Commission contrary to sections 59 and 99(2) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703) and the illegal employment of foreign nationals contrary to section 24 of the Immigration Act, 2000 (Act 573).

Accused of being notorious for illegal mining and blackmailing powerful Ghanaians with sex tapes secretly recorded, Aisha Huang had, prior to her arraignment, been in and out of police grips on three occasions.

This is the first time she is being prosecuted for her alleged illegal mining activities.

The other four accused persons who she hired were charged with disobedience of directive given by or under the Immigration Act, 2000 (Act 573).

The suspects are mostly Chinese who do not understand the English language. The prosecutors do not understand Chinese either, a situation that has left a huge communication gap.

When the court convened today, the one who understood both English and Chinese and was brought for purposes of interpretation was also rejected.

Director of Public Prosecution Yvonne Attakora Obuobisa who led the state’s legal team informed the court they will prefer Ghanaian competent in Chinese to assist the couryt with interpretation.

She feared Yun Chin York who is expected to be called to the Ghana Bar in October is too adept in Ghana’s law and that could influence his interpretation.

The defence, led by Bernard Owuradu in part, agreed with the submissions of the prosecution.

With both parties agreeing for a change, the High Court judge, Justice Charles Baiden adjourned hearing to July 21, and directed the Chief interpreter to provide the court with a Ghanaian Chinese interpreter.
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