Vincent Tabak, the man charged with the murder of Joanna Yeates, has appeared in court without entering a plea, it is reported. It is also reported that he had the services of an interpreter. He is a Dutch national. We have all met Dutch people, even if we have never been to the Netherlands. Everywhere you go in the world there seems to be a camper van with a Dutch family in it. We know that Dutch people are usually tall and usually fair complexioned; we know that they, or the ones who travel anyway, speak excellent English with a distinctive accent; we think they say "For sure" a lot. This man has been working in the UK for some time, so it would be very surprising if he could not speak English, or was not fluent in it. There has been some tabloid outrage that he has been provided with an interpreter. I do not share the outrage. I am reasonably fluent in French and can understand the language of the police and the courts in France without much difficulty. But if I found myself charged with an offence here I would insist upon an interpreter. And what would those same tabloids think if a British person was arrested in, say, Thailand (and how many Brits who visit that country do so with even a few words of Thai?) and was refused the services of an interpreter, so that they could not understand their trial? Quite. A very good use of public money, say I.
Oh and let's not forget that this man has not been convicted of any offence. So he is INNOCENT. OK?
And in related news, Jared Loughner, the perpetrator (according to many witnesses) of the Arizona shootings, has pleaded not guilty. Make sense to anyone?