Joseph Roy Éric Bessette v. Attorney General of British Columbia

(British Columbia) (Civil) (By Leave)


Provincial offences - Trial, Judicial review, Prerogative writs, Official languages - Official languages - Provincial offences - Trial - Language of accused - Judicial review - Prerogative writs - On motion for prerogative writ, whether alleged denial of accused’s language rights guaranteed by s. 530 of Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, warrants immediate intervention by reviewing court - Whether s. 133 of British Columbia Offence Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 338, incorporates s. 530 of Criminal Code with result that accused has right to be tried for provincial offence in official language of his or her choice.


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Mr. Bessette was charged with a provincial offence under the Motor Vehicle Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 318. Relying on the right of an accused to be tried in the official language of his or her choice, as provided for in s. 530 of the Criminal Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, he sought an order from the British Columbia Provincial Court that his trial be conducted in French. He argued that s. 133 of the Offence Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 338, which incorporates the provisions of the Criminal Code relating to offences punishable on summary conviction, makes ss. 530 to 533 of the Criminal Code applicable to the prosecution of provincial offences.