Lack of translator delays suspected pot grower’s trial

The court’s failure to secure an interpreter caused the delay of a trial on Tuesday of a man charged more than two years ago with growing marijuana.

The court’s failure to secure an interpreter caused the delay of a trial on Tuesday of a man charged more than two years ago with growing marijuana.

Hoan Van Phun, 55, of Vancouver, was ordered to return to Court of Queen’s Bench on Dec. 3 for a two-day trial after the justice heard the proceeding couldn’t start because a Cantonese-speaking interpreter hadn’t been ordered by the clerk of the court.

Defence lawyer Will Willms said he couldn’t proceed because he couldn’t communicate with his client properly.

An RCMP officer who speaks Cantonese assisted Willms before court started but the officer naturally couldn’t perform those duties during trial.

Willms said it was unfortunate because an interpreter had been present for all of Phun’s appearances in provincial court.

Several officers, including a few from out of town, had been called as witnesses for the trial.

Phun is charged with producing marijuana, possession of a narcotic for the purpose of trafficking and theft of electricity.

He was one of two men charged in August 2007 after a Deer Park residence was raided by RCMP.

Police seized 533 marijuana plants in the house located directly across the street from Holy Family elementary school.

A police drug expert testified at a sentence hearing for Dean Tin Lap Voong, 55, of Red Deer, that if three crops had been harvested they could have been worth about $1.2 million.

Voong was sentenced to two years and two months in jail in August 2008 after pleading guilty to producing marijuana, possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking and theft of electricity.

jwilson@bprda.wpengine.com

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