The preliminary inquiry into the case against the man accused of killing White Rock resident Bruce Ridout last summer got underway in Surrey Provincial Court last week.
At the request of the accused, the proceedings – to determine if there is enough evidence against Jeffrey Caillé to warrant a trial – are being held in French.
Under the Criminal Code, it’s the right of an accused to have his or her proceedings in either of Canada’s official languages. There is no live translation in court for the benefit of those who do not speak French.
There are also no similar linguistic procedural rights for other languages, however, all accused have a right of interpretation.
Neil MacKenzie, spokesman for the Criminal Justice Branch, told Peace Arch News that French-language trials are held in B.C. about 10 times a year.
A friend of Ridout’s who attended proceedings described the language barrier as something of a challenge.
“It’s very hard to try and find out what they’re saying,” Ed Bolton told PAN last week. “I can follow a bit, but not all of it.”
However, the main point of attending, Bolton said, was out of respect for Ridout.
“We were there for Bruce, nothing else. We want to see some justice, that’s it.”
Ridout died Aug. 10, following an altercation at his home in the 900-block of Ash Street. Caillé is charged with second-degree murder, one count of assault causing bodily harm and two counts of assault.
Twenty-two years old at the time of his arrest, Caillé has been out on bail since early February, under conditions that he live with his mother or father in Quebec.
In court on the first day of the hearing May 19, he wore a grey and black T-shirt, and his dark hair was pulled back in a ponytail.
Due to a publication ban, no evidence presented during the preliminary inquiry may be reported.
Caillé’s hearing is scheduled to continue through June 2. Judge Gary Cohen is presiding.