Two Vietnamese nationals who are accused of operating a drug farm in South Tyneside with more than 400 cannabis plants have had their case committed to Newcastle Crown Court.
Dung Van Doan and Van Gian Hoang, both 32, of Croydon Road, Newcastle, had their case heard at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court – despite the absence of an interpreter and with neither man being able to speak English.
The pair, who have both pleaded not guilty to a charge of producing a Class B drug, also faced a new separate charge of being concerned with the production of a Class B drug.
The 409 cannabis plants are said to have been produced at a house in Chichester Road, South Shields.
Both men were arrested on Friday, February 1, of this year.
Keith Jones, defending, said that no plea would be indicated for the new charge, and both still deny the exisiting charge on file.
No interpreter was able to be booked to translate for the defendants on the day.
Mr Jones told the court that he had been able to arrange a three-way conversation between himself, the two defendants and an interpretor prior to the case to make them aware of how it was due to progress.
But he admitted neither of the men, who are both remanded in custody, would be able to understand the proceedings of the court.
Before the pair were brought before the court, Mr Jones arranged another telephone conversation with the men and an interpreter to explain a new charge would be put before them.
Mr Jones said: “The position of the men is that they maintain their accounts.
“There won’t be an indication of plea on the new charge.
“They are happy for the case to be dealt with without them being able to understand what is being said in court.
“They are happy that I will act in their best interests and explain things to them after the case.”
Stan Sudworth, prosecuting, said the charges they faced were too serious to be dealt with by the magistrates’ court.
All charges were committed to Newcastle Crown Court for a plea and case management hearing, to take place on April 2.
Both will remain remanded in custody until then.