British Columbia: a new trial for an accused who could not be tried in French

British Columbia: a new trial for an accused who could not be tried in French
British Columbia: a new trial for an accused who could not be tried in French

A Francophone from British Columbia accused of sexual assault will be entitled to a new trial in French because he was not informed of his right to be tried in the official language of his choice, the Supreme Court has ruled.

Franck Yvan Tayo Tompouba was found guilty of sexual assault before the Supreme Court of British Columbia following a judgment which took place in English.

Although the accused had not requested to undergo his trial in French, he nevertheless appealed his conviction. He then claimed a violation of his linguistic rights since the judge had not informed him of the possibility of being judged in French.

However, article 530 of the Criminal Code “guarantees to every accused the right to undergo his trial in the official language of his choice”, recalled the Supreme Court which found itself with this file.

The Court of Appeal, however, rejected his appeal, which the highest court in the country called an “error”.

“Chief Justice Wagner concluded, on the one hand, that Mr. Tayo Tompouba had proven the existence of an error reviewable on appeal and, on the other hand, that the prosecution had failed to demonstrate that the fundamental right of Mr. Tayo Tompouba had not in fact been violated despite the judge’s failure to fulfill his obligation to provide information,” it was explained.

The Supreme Court therefore overturned the accused’s conviction and ordered a new trial.

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