Quebec judge rules part of Law 101 calling for judgments to be translated is invalid

A Quebec Court judge has ruled — of his own volition — that a clause of the province’s revamped French language charter, calling for English criminal court judgments to be immediately translated into French, is invalid.

In the 34-page English-only judgment, Galiatsatos found that Article 10 of the charter, set to take effect June 1, is incompatible with Canadian criminal law, which is under federal jurisdiction, and could disproportionately harm English speakers because of extra translation delays .

Galiatsatos had undertaken to evaluate the constitutionality of the Law 101 article himself earlier this month, after hearing arguments from the Crown and defense in a voirdire ahead of an upcoming criminal trial in English, beginning June 3.

Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette said Monday that the province would be appealing Galiatsatos’s judgment.

Quebec’s attorney general had called on a Quebec Superior Court judge to prevent Galiatsatos from ruling on the provincial law, alleging Galiatsatos was not impartial in the matter.

But in a judgment also rendered Friday, the Superior Court judge found that while the attorney general’s arguments were good, it failed to demonstrate serious or irreparable prejudice.

Galiatsatos first raised the issue on May 1, in another ruling that warned of potential delays in the criminal trial of Christine Pryde, who has been charged with dangerous and impaired driving and criminal negligence causing the death of a cyclist, Irene Dehem, that occurred May 18, 2021 in the West Island of Montreal.

Pryde requested that his trial take place in English, a choice set out in Canadian criminal law.

Galiatsatos wrote in that ruling that Dehem and Pryde’s families would have to wait several additional weeks or months to receive the final judgment since it would have to be translated, reviewed, corrected and approved.