H. Right to an Interpreter

Author:Robert J. Sharpe - Kent Roach
Profession:Court of Appeal for Ontario - Faculty of Law, University of Toronto

Page 320

Section 14 of the Charter guarantees parties and witnesses the right to an interpreter:

A party or witness in any proceeding who does not understand or speak the language in which the proceedings are conducted or who is deaf has the right to the assistance of an interpreter.

The Charter also contains English- and French-language guarantees that apply to criminal proceedings in certain provinces, as discussed in Chapter 16.

The leading case on the section 14 right to an interpreter is R v Tran.185Convicted of sexual assault, the accused’s interpreter at trial failed to translate much of the key testimony in full and instead merely summarized the evidence. Embracing a "liberal interpretation and principled application" of the right to an interpreter, the Supreme Court allowed the accused’s appeal and ordered a new trial. Grounded in the basic requirement that a person charged with a criminal offence has the right to hear the case against him or her and to be given a full opportunity to answer it, the Court stated section 14 guarantees that those who need...

To continue reading