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Interpreter for drug case

Shalveen Chand
Saturday, June 07, 2014

THE High Court in Suva has told the registry to make arrangements for a Spanish interpreter as a an American man accused of transporting cocaine claims he can't speak English.

Aiden Alec Hurtado allegedly had 20 kilograms of cocaine in his luggage, an allegation which he has denied.

Defence counsel Samanunu Vaniqi told the court Mr Hurtado didn't understand English and only conversed in Spanish. She said on the last court appearance the accused's mother had translated the court proceedings but since then she had left for the US.

Justice Salesi Temo said he found it hard to believe that an American citizen couldn't understand English.

Ms Vaniqi said Mr Hurtado came from a close knit South American community and didn't need to converse in English.

A trial date has been set for February 2016.

Justice Temo said under the Bail Act, the court had the power to remand an accused for two years, and in this case, it would be two years on March 14, 2016 and by then the trial would have been over.

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