A Chinese man who tried to have his conviction for sexually assaulting a woman in a bus station thrown out because he claimed his plea to the charges had been lost in translation was today (Thursday) jailed.
Loi Li lost a six-month battle to retract his guilty plea over repeatedly stroking a woman’s bottom at Arbroath Bus Station on Catherine Street on September 14 2014.
Loi “took umbrage” with a Chinese interpreter he had been assigned.
The assault was admitted by Loi last March but it emerged his interpreter in the dock spoke a different Chinese language.
Forfar Sheriff Court heard Loi spoke the Sino-Tibetan language Hakka and had been given an interpreter who spoke the more mainstream Cantonese dialect.
However, a sheriff was told that the opinion of another interpreter was that the Cantonese for “guilty” and “not guilty” were sufficiently different that Loi could not have misunderstood his plea.
A legal application to withdraw his plea was subsequently rejected and in mid-February Sheriff Gregor Murray remanded him, saying the accused was “the author of his own misfortune”.
He said at that hearing: “Every part of this case has been delayed following your original plea of guilty. The latest delay I do not find to be acceptable in any way.
“Considerable money has been wasted to date in this case and I want to be certain that there is an interpreter and you are there at the same time and place.”
Loi, 66, of High Street, Arbroath, pleaded guilty to a charge of sexual assault.
The court heard Loi has been in the UK for 45 years, working in restaurant kitchens across Tayside in that time and has little English, the court heard.
Defence solicitor Sarah Russo said: “He is not assessed as suitable for any non-custodial disposals.
“He is fearful of a further period in custody.”
Sheriff Gregor Murray jailed Loi for 60 days and placed him on the sex offenders’ register for seven years.
He said: “Throughout this case you have displayed a failure to co-operate with authority.
“That has led to the latest report making no recommendation for a community based sentence.
“There’s now no alternative to a custodial sentence.”