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Court threatens to free Aisha Huang’s accomplices due to lack of interpreter

The four accomplices of the popular Chinese illegal miner, Aisha Huang may be freed by the court unless an interpreter capable of speaking Chinese and Vietnamese language is found.

'Galamsey queen' Aisha Huang

The High Court in Accra presided over by Justice Lydia Osei Marfo threatened on Tuesday, November 1 that the court may be compelled to discharge the accused persons on the hearing date.

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Three Chinese nationals – Shi Yang alias Philip, Li Wei Guo and Shi Mei Zhi were charged for engaging in small scale-mining without a licence, contrary to section 99(2)(a) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703) as amended by Act 995 of 2019.

They all pleaded not guilty on their second appearance on October 24.

According to starrfm.com.gh, due to a lack of an interpreter, the plea of Nguyen Thi Thanh Tuyen said to be Vietnamese has not been taken since September 16.

The suspect is facing trial for remaining in Ghana after the expiration of a permit contrary to sections 20(1) and 52(1)(d) of the Immigration Act, 2000 (Act 573).

It is reported that an arrangement made for a Vietnamese interpreter to appear to help the court proceed with the case did not materialise.

On Tuesday, the judge expressed helplessness in the quest to find an interpreter, adding that she might be left with no option but to release the accused persons on the next hearing date.

“We were to take the plea of the fourth accused today since the last adjourned date she has indicated she speaks only Vietnamese.

“Clearly, the Judicial Service has no interpreter to these languages. In fact, the interpreter for the Chinese language is equally not a staff of the judiciary.

“Incidentally, he was provided by the Ghana Institute of Languages.

“Today, (Tuesday), he too is not in court because he had had to travel outside the country to undertake his own business activities. This is rarely a challenge of the court.

“This court cannot effectively hear this case. We are not sure of the court interpreters who can speak the languages of these accused, especially those who can speak international languages like Chinese, Vietnamese, Dutch and Spanish.

“I will adjourn this case for the last time in this court for a Chinese and Vietnamese interpreter. I will release the accused persons either conditionally or unconditionally,” Justice Lydia Osei Marfo said, as quoted by starrfm.com.gh.

Meanwhile, the registrar of the court assured that efforts to find an interpreter would continue.

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