COQUITLAM -- A provincial court judge called it a tragedy but said she had no choice but to end serious sex charges against a man because the Crown failed to have police statements translated from Russian and another language.
The Crown sought to have the case adjourned repeatedly over a two-year period until the police statements of two complainants could be translated from Russian and Dari.
The defence applied for a judicial stay of proceedings, arguing the accused constitutional rights to make full answer and defence had been violated.
The defence also argued that the right of the accused to a speedy trial was also violated by the delay.
The judge reluctantly agreed.
The man, only identified in a written judgment as H.S.O., was charged with 13 offences, including five counts of assault, three counts of threatening, one count of assault with a weapon, one count of touching a young person for a sexual purpose and one count of public mischief, for reporting an offence that had not occurred.
"Regardless of what happens today in this courtroom, there is a tragedy," the judge said during her ruling.
"I have to add that it is very disturbing that the value of the complainants' sexual, physical and emotional integrity is less than the cost of translation and transcription."
The witness material had been in the hands of a senior police officer for several months with no further efforts made to get the translation work done, Buller Bennett said.
The judge also noted that it also took a full year after the man's arrest for police to disclose that they had statements from him in need of translation as well, also in Russian and Dari.
You know, you just don't want to be raped in B.C.