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Monday, April 2, 2012



Two-year translation delay derails child sex abuse trial

 

 
It is a shocking story that was "fumbled" by the justice sys-tem, said Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, B.C.'s representative for children and families. She raised multiple concerns about the case in a report released Thursday.
"Allowing budgetary considerations to outweigh the plight of the vulnerable children involved in this case is shocking, unacceptable and should never happen again," says her report, The Impact of Criminal Justice Funding Decisions on Children in British Columbia.
The failure to provide the translation services within a reasonable amount of time led a Provincial Court judge to stay the 13 charges because the father's right to a fair trial had been breached.
As a result, Turpel-Lafond said, a heartbreaking message has been sent to the complain-ant in this case - as well as to other victims - "that she didn't matter enough" to the judicial system.
"It is so important that victims have the opportunity to come forward and that there is a prosecution. Prosecution allows individuals to be empowered and - it gives a sense of closure to have a trial," Turpel-Lafond said in an interview.
The increase of non-English-speaking residents in B.C. makes this case of particular concern, she added.
Attorney-General Shirley Bond said Thursday she is "incredibly disappointed and devastated" by the handling of this file.
"There is no excuse for what happened in the case," she said. "It was an operational decision not to assign the resources that were necessary. That is unacceptable. I have already had conversations with Crown and with police authorities."

The facts in the story are disturbing. The girl's family came to Canada as refugees in 2005 and settled in the Lower Main-land. Their names are not revealed to protect the identity of the victim, but the judge's ruling says statements to police were made in Russian and an unusual dialect.

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