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Sun Feb 01 07:36:38 SAST 2015

Rhino suspects could walk free due to absent translator

Sapa | 16 March, 2012 08:23
Workers perform a post-mortem on the carcass of a rhino after it was killed for its horn by poachers at the Kruger national park in Mpumalanga province. File picture
Workers perform a post-mortem on the carcass of a rhino after it was killed for its horn by poachers at the Kruger national park in Mpumalanga province. File picture
Image by: STAFF / Reuters

A Chinese and a Vietnamese suspects charged with involvement in rhino poaching could walk out of the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court as free men on Friday, if a court translator fails to arrive in court.

Beeld newspaper reports that district magistrate Eric Mhlari on Thursday postponed the case against the two until Friday, and warned that in the absence of a translator, he would remove the case from the court roll.

Vietnamese citizen Qifen Chen and Jigua Han, from China, appeared in court for the first time on February 21, according to Beeld.

Chen was then admitted to hospital with an ankle injury and the case was postponed until February 29, but he was unable to attend the court case, as he was still in hospital.

Court translator Melody Lin was not available for either of the two court appearances, so the case was postponed until March 7, but Lin did not arrive.

She sent a message to notify the magistrate that she could only translate Chinese, not Vietnamese.

Meanwhile, Chen informed the court that he in fact could speak fluent Chinese, so the case was postponed until March 15.

On Thursday, Lin again failed to arrive, after informing the court that she had a stomach ailment.

She assured the court that she would definitely attend the case on Friday.

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