New Brunswick courts acquit an accused because of language rights violations by a peace officer

The New Brunswick Court of Appeal confirmed an acquittal by a lower court based on a peace officer’s failure to make an active offer of service in both official languages to the accused.

The provincial court had found that an officer’s failure to offer to communicate in the preferred official language of the accused for more than 30 minutes following arrest constituted a violation of section 20(2) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Court had then assessed and balanced the effect of admitting the evidence on society’s confidence in the justice system. The Court of Appeal confirmed the decision to exclude evidence and acquit the accused.