By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
A SENIOR magistrate yesterday had to adjourn the drug case against five foreign nationals involved in the discovery and seizure of 100 pounds of suspected marijuana after her court was unable to secure a Spanish translator for the duration of the hearing.
Deputy Chief Magistrate Subsola Swain made the decision after her court attempted to contact a translator to aid in proceedings against 19-year-old Brandon Kevin of Ecuador, one of five foreign nationals on trial in the Magistrate's Court in connection to a major drug discovery in May.
Kevin is charged alongside 35-year-old XIaolin Ling, 40-year-old You Meichun and two juveniles, the latter four who are all from China.
In the discovery, police on mobile patrol received reports of a group of illegal migrants on a vessel near the Poop Deck, East Bay Street around 2.40am on May 26.
Police Marine Support Services officers assisted by Flying Squad officers and K-9 officer Rexo, conducted a search of the vessel and found five foreign men on board who did not speak English.
Police discovered two large packages of what was suspected to be marijuana.
A further search of the vessel uncovered nine other packages of marijuana in the panelling of the vessel.
The drugs totalled 100 pounds.
At the commencement of yesterday's appearance, there were two Chinese translators present to facilitate proper communications with the four Chinese nationals.
However, there was no Spanish translator.
Deputy Chief Magistrate Swain stood the matter down to allow her office and the court time to facilitate a Spanish translator but the attempt was unsuccessful.
When the case resumed, Deputy Chief Magistrate Swain informed the defendants, their various representatives and family members that the appearance could not proceed without the presence of the translator.
She informed the court of her decision to have the matter adjourned to September 7 to allow the court time to ensure the presence of both a Chinese and Spanish translator.
However, before the appearance was concluded, Deputy Chief Magistrate Swain asked the representatives for the accused how well their respective clients were adjusting to their current conditions.
It was at this time, through the Chinese translator and a Spanish-speaking witness in the case, several of the accused gave issues with the state in which they are being kept while awaiting trial.
Kevin informed the court that he is presently suffering from a respiratory condition he feels is worsening by the day, an escalating skin condition and an overall feeling of bad health.
He also made a plea to receive medical attention, to which the court agreed.
Family members who sat in the court during the appearance cried openly.
Additionally, two of the four Chinese accused also made pleas to see a skin doctor, raising concerns over what appeared to be some form of a skin ailment affecting them.
In this regard, the court also agreed to the need for medical attention.
Additionally, the four Chinese nationals, through their attorneys, made a request to have more Chinese cuisine while on remand, to which the court informed them that they can make various arrangements through their representatives.